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'Dodgy' Brodie Retallick clean out on Michael Hooper under scrutiny

By Sam Smith

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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.


Last night was no different, as he became the target of All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick early in the game at Eden Park while trying to escape a ruck.

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.

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Wallabies Dave Rennie on the positives from loss to All Blacks
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Wallabies Dave Rennie on the positives from loss to All Blacks

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.

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.


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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