All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has suggested World Rugby should consider the introduction of a disciplinary report system like rugby league’s rather than issuing red cards after his side beat a 14-man France 26-13.
France fullback Ben Fall was sent off in the 12th minute of the second test in Wellington for a collision with Beauden Barrett in the air that ended with the All Blacks flyhalf landing on his head.
Referee Angus Gardner consulted with television official George Ayoub before he made his decision and said the rules left him with “no choice” but to send Fall from the field. “It’s disappointing they lost a player,” Hansen said after the match. “I know it’s tough and they have to look after players but somehow I think that we need to look at something where that can go on report.”
Rugby league’s report system involves a referee making a judgement that an incident might need further investigation by a disciplinary panel. The player involved is rarely sent from the field at the time.
Hansen thought the decision to send off Fall had been harsh.
“He didn’t do it intentionally, didn’t aim to do anything to Beaudie,” Hansen said. “It’s just one of those things.”
While the All Blacks would typically run riot against a 14-man opposition, they struggled to get anything right in the face of a resilient French side, who were considered unlucky last week to have lock Paul Gabrillagues dubiously sinbinned.
The yellow card last week opened the floodgates for the All Blacks, who ran away with the game 52-11 and Hansen had said all week that he wanted his team to hit their straps from the opening whistle on Saturday.
The world champions, however, were poor in individual execution and sloppy in their team work with passes going astray, turnovers being conceded, first up tacklers being brushed aside and generally lacking discipline.
The All Blacks conceded 13 penalties, the same as France, but the majority of those were in succession while desparately defending their own territory.
Gardner warned captain Sam Whitelock he would yellow card the next offender, which happened to be replacement scrumhalf TJ Perenara.
“If you’re not quite right you get frustrated then you run around and do things that you wouldn’t normally,” Hansen said of his team’s disciplinary issues.
“It was a classic case of guys didn’t back up from last week … and were a bit off the pace.
“We, as a team were off the pace … the biggest positive is that we got more points on the board.”