Tomkinson was handed a yellow card by referee Nic Berry in the 44th minute of the match for a dangerous tackle on Brumbies fullback Tom Banks.
Tomkinson didn’t wrap his arms as his shoulder hit Banks’ head but referee Nic Berry deemed the initial contact was shoulder to shoulder and opted for a yellow card.
The replays looked ugly but Banks was able to continue playing.
— Steve Lenthall (@steve_l15) February 15, 2020
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has suggested Super Rugby officials are not following the strict red card precedent set at the World Cup last year.
The Brumbies lost the match 23-22 with the Highlanders scoring after the buzzer, but it could have been a completely different story if the Highlanders had been reduced to 14 men for the majority of the second half.
World Rugby vowed to protect players at the 2019 World Cup and a record eight red cards were brandished – more than the past four tournaments combined.
Berry sent off Ireland’s Bundee Aki for a dangerous tackle at the World Cup but the whistle-blower was in a more forgiving mood at Canberra Stadium.
McKellar didn’t blame the decision for the loss but believes Tomkinson should have been sent off.
“I thought it was a red card,” McKellar said.
“If you’re asking me as a rugby fan, I thought, from what we’ve seen previously, I thought it was in that red card threshold.”
Last year Tomkinson was red-carded for this tackle on Brodie Retallick.
? What are your thoughts on this? ?
Sio Tomkinson saw red this morning for this tackle on Brodie Retallick. Do you think that was the right call?
? Vote below ? pic.twitter.com/lMkFfi9XGj
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) February 15, 2019
While it won’t be any solace to McKeller, Tompkinson could now face an extended stint out of the game and will face the citing commissioner on Sunday evening.
Even Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger conceded by the letter of the law his winger’s night could have been over.
“It’s a tough one, isn’t it,” Mauger said.
“If you’re reffing to the letter it’s contact with the head, but I don’t think there was any malice there and there’s nowhere for him to go.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 14, 2020
“It’s one of those ones that happens in a split second, so I don’t think there was any chance of pulling out.”
The Brumbies were kept scoreless in the 10 minutes Tomkinson was off the field.
Conversely, when Brumbies lock Murray Douglas was sin-binned in the 80th minute for repeated infringements the Highlanders were able to score the winning try.
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