The Hurricanes saw off a stubborn Highlanders side in Super Rugby Aotearoa last weekend, eventually winning 43-22 in Wellington. It was a niggly affair that produced a card for Canes hooker Dane Coles after an altercation with Landers out-half Mitch Hunt in the first half.
Hunt took exception to Coles sticking his forearm onto his neck area and retaliated by striking Coles in the face. Both incidents were deemed unnecessary by referee Ben O’Keefe, who duly sent each player to the sin bin.
Coles was clearly surprised when O’Keefe took out his yellow card and asked “What is that!?” seemingly trying to add some comic relief to the situation.
Upon getting shown the yellow, Coles added: “Come on, we’re just having a bit of fun, mate”, to which O’Keefe dryly responded, “not tonight”.
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Although Coles claimed the scuffle was “a bit of fun”, the All Black hooker did take exception to Hunt’s reaction, and called to the assistant referees to take action. Nevertheless, both indiscretions were uncalled for and both players had enough time to cool off.
The match itself was a cracker and the unfancied Highlanders stuck in until the 60th minute, where the scores were even at 19-19. As the visitors began to tire in the final quarter, the Canes eventually pulled clear with three late tries to come out comfortably on top in the end.