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All Blacks captain receives first ever men's World Cup final red card against South Africa

By Josh Raisey
Sam Cane of New Zealand looks dejected after an initial yellow card was upgraded to a red card following a TMO review during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at Stade de France on October 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has become the first player to ever receive a red card in a World Cup final for a high tackle on South Africa centre Jesse Kriel.


The flanker was shown a yellow card by referee Wayne Barnes on 27 minutes for making contact with the head of the South Africa outside centre, but it was upgraded to red a few minutes later, forcing the All Blacks to play over 50 minutes of the final with at least 14 players.

Cane’s back row teammate Shannon Frizell had already been yellow carded earlier in the half for a dangerous clear out of South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi, which forced the South African off the field with a knee injury.

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Jacques Nienaber and Faf de Klerk explain the back-up plan for the Springboks if De Klerk goes down

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Jacques Nienaber and Faf de Klerk explain the back-up plan for the Springboks if De Klerk goes down

The All Blacks were trailing 9-3 when Cane was initially shown a yellow card, and it was upgraded just before Handre Pollard extended South Africa’s lead to 12-3. Even with a player down, New Zealand were able to claw a penalty back before hal-time, as the sides went in with the scores 12-6.

No8 Ardie Savea replaced Cane as captain for the remainder of the match.

Cane spoke in the build up to the match about getting the balance between the head and the heart right.

He said: “A lot of it comes down to our preparation. We’ve got a lot of experience in this squad and it would be silly not to tap into some of that. We’ve been really clear how we have built how we want to play as a team. In terms of head and strategy we’re in a good place and with that comes confidence. There will be a high level of emotion and intent to start the game well, there always is.


“But we have played two knockout matches in a row and I trust we are in a good spot there. The boys have done a lot of physical and mental prep. Although it is a final, we just have to trust ourselves to go out there and play good footy.”


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Chris 257 days ago

I believe RugbyPass is owned by World Rugby, so the articles should be impartial now but the NZ bias is still very evident thanks to the likes of jokester Ben Smith (who blocked comments on a recent laughable article). On that matter RugbyOnslaught, also owned by RugbyPass, is also a complete disgrace like our friend Ben.

michael 257 days ago

It’s about time NZ’s illegal dangerous play gets called out. Just remember your dirty play cost your country the World Cup! What kind of fine or ban did he receive for that disgusting tackle? There number 6 should have been red carded in the first minute of the game!!!

kiwi 258 days ago

Congratulations to South Africa you weathered the black storm and came away victorious. Amazing defence throughout this tournament and worthy winners and Champions of the world for a record 4th time!!! Hats off to the Spring Boks green machine 🙌🏿🙌🏿 👍🏿
It was a bitter pill for our All Black team and supporters to swallow but we have to suck it up and give credit where credit is due. Never mind about blaming refs and dicks in a booth 😂 it’s over, it’s history and now it’s time to move on to a new All Black chapter that we should all be excited about! To our beloved All Black side who showed incredible character, courage and belief to keep pushing but were pipped at the post. You have nothing to be ashamed about it just wasn’t your day.
Over the past 120 plus years our team’s history is steeped in success (unmatched by any other team in the history of sport) and although we were beaten today, we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and be excited for what lies ahead. That’s what us Kiwis do. ✊🏿

Martin 258 days ago

I’m not a die-hard rugby fanatic. And yes it would have been nice if NZ had won. But on the day it was SA and their turn to be #1. Remember, it is only a game. Be grateful Hammas don't play rugby. That should help those with a skewd perspective on believing this game is so important, it's not.

Martin 258 days ago

It was accidental and it happens from time time. Why would the Captain deliberately risk that move? You have no idea what you are talking about.

Y3mmxiii 258 days ago

Yes, because the intent was to cause the body injuries to the best team in the world.

jurgens 258 days ago

Yes yesssss luckily I'm from the Wit Kant 🤣🤣👍👍

Brett 258 days ago

I would Like to Say: New Zealand deserved to lose you guys missed 2 penalty kicks and in the world of professional Rugby….

South Africaaaaaaaaaaaa back to wins!!!!!!!!!!whoooohooooo

Johan 259 days ago

For me, the Cane incident was run of the game. (as was Kolisi and Kolby) The Frizell incident however was deliberate and not run of the game. Not only was he playing from illegal position he went in to injure. That was the red card

Christopher 259 days ago

We’re we watching the same game? It always amuses me how opposing supporters see the game form a different perspective, and believe it. A bit like that fellow Trump!
And, if you care to review the game, MM ‘s pass that resulted in the AB try was at least one metre forward! There is the view from the touchline that shows it clearly, if you can look at it objectively!

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