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Former All Black Aaron Cruden red-carded for clean out on Faf De Klerk

By Sam Smith
(Source/J Sports)

Former All Black first five Aaron Cruden was handed a red card for a clean out gone wrong which collected Springboks scrumhalf Faf de Klerk directly in the face, knocking him to the ground in the latest round of Japan Rugby League One.

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De Klerk was in the process of delivering a pass from the base of a ruck as Cruden charged through with an attempt to a counter-ruck.

The former All Black’s shoulder connected directly to the forehead, sending the Springboks No 9 reeling.

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After a review from the TMO, the officials has no choice but to issue Tokyo Sungoliath a red card in the 17th minute leaving them down to 14-men for the match.

The Tokyo Sungoliath No 10 had just scored a try from a brilliant read at the other end, scooping up a bizarre chip kick from fullback and Japanese star Kotaro Matsushima to level scores after an early try to Canon through Jesse Kriel.

Despite losing Cruden, Tokyo built a 13-8 lead before De Klerk was sin-binned himself for an early challenge on a Sungoliath kicker, receiving a yellow card for attempting to charge down from an offside position.

A breakaway try to former New Zealand under-20 star Tevita Li right on half-time for Sungoliath looked to have blown the lead out to 20-8 heading into the sheds, but the try was ruled out.

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Tokyo Sungoliath scored first in the second half through right wing Seiya Ozaki before a set-piece try from Canon Eagles was rubbed out after Springbok midfielder Jesse Kriel took out a defender in the lead-up.

Some late magic from Kriel closed the gap to 25-23, as the centre produced some crafty play to put his winger Viriame Takayawa in for a long range try.

With two minutes to play, a cross-field kick from Tokyo’s inside centre found the mark to a wide open Ozaki to cruise over for his brace and seal the 32-23 win for the Sungoliath.

The Sungoliath moved up to second in division one with the win with two wins from their first three matches, while Yokohama Canon Eagles dropped to 6th with one win, one draw and one loss from their first three games.

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