'Dodgy' Brodie Retallick clean out on Michael Hooper under scrutiny
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is no stranger to off-the-ball treatment, having been the target of many All Black sides at the breakdown over his career.
After making a tackle on George Bower in the 25th minute, Hooper got to his feet and swung his torso around to compete for the ball before being knocked off his feet by the first cleaner Ardie Savea in the first challenge.
Retreating back out of the breakdown to avoid interfering with play with his arms in the air, the defenceless Hooper was clobbered by Retallick in a pile-driving shoulder to the back, sending his head into whiplash.
A pretty dodgy clean out here by Retallick on Hooper, from the side, lead with shoulder. Just silly and dangerous. Hooper was blowing up rightfully so#BledisloeCup #NZLvAUS@GAGR @RugbyReg @RugbyOnNine pic.twitter.com/mCfz8BEk7O
— rob (@rob47138671) August 7, 2021
Referee Paul Wiliams didn’t take exception to the clean out, letting play go on despite protests from the Australian captain.
The incident divided fans watching, while Australian fans said it wasn’t technically illegal they claimed it was unnecessary and dangerous that could have resulted in harm to their captain.
One fan wrote ‘players shouldn’t be targeted with cheap shots if they’re doing the right thing’ while another wrote ‘Hooper has to expect that’s going to happen’ for ‘loitering’ on the wrong side of the ruck.
Well he’s loitering a bit… it’s borderline, but I’ve got no real problem there… I wish a few Wallabies cleaned out loiterers like that… we all complained about the French hanging around the backs of our rucks…
— Kev Hearn (@Kev_Hearn) August 7, 2021
Yeah to say this sort of action should be condoned is ridiculous.
Hooper had a crack at ball, missed it and was told by ref and made clear release. No impact on play.
Players shouldn’t be targeted with cheap shots if they’re doing the right thing in line with refs direction
— rob (@rob47138671) August 7, 2021
You don't think clearing someone out unnecessarily from the side, when the ball is completely free to play, is illegal? Hooper had his hands in the air and was on his knees
It's 2021. It's entirely illegal.
— Roger Grace (@autodidactical) August 7, 2021
Hopefully Rennie does an hour long video
— Michael Atkinson (@kinson88) August 7, 2021
Nothing wrong with it…. if anything he’s come slightly from side. Perfect tackle technique, led with the shoulder, arms wrapped, going in at the body. Hooper has to expect that’s going to happen if you just sitting in the ruck on the AB’s side ?????
— Isaiah Smiler (@isaiahsmiles) August 7, 2021
While Brodie Retallick avoided sanction for the clean out, he was the All Blacks most penalised on the night, giving away four penalties throughout the game.
The big man was penalised once for a high shot on halfback Tate McDermott, once for being offside, once for not rolling away and another for not releasing on a night where the All Blacks were pinged 18 times compared to 9 by the Wallabies.
Discipline was an area that All Blacks coach Ian Foster highlighted in the post-match press conference, while Richie Mo’unga also said the side needs to not give away so many soft penalties.
“There was enough there that was controllable by us. Nothing to attribute to new laws. If you’re offside, you’re offside. That’s plain and simple and we’ve got to get better at that,” Foster said of the ill-discipline.
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