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'He was a sitting duck': All Blacks await Swain verdict

By Sam Smith
Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images

The second of the many major talking points to come out of the first Bledisloe test in Melbourne last week was Darcy Swain’s dangerous and illegal clean-out on Quinn Tupaea.

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Scans revealed that Tupaea had suffered a ruptured medial cruciate ligament (MCL) and partially torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the incident which saw Swain yellow-carded.

Amongst the outcry over Mathieu Raynal’s match-defining time-wasting call, there was an outpouring of sympathy and prayers for Tupaea who is expected to miss the next three months – the remainder of the international season.

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Tupaea’s All Blacks teammate Beauden Barrett appeared for media on Monday and was asked if he had a view on the incident.

“Yea we do, we do, I thought it was…” Barrett hesitated. “I feel for Quinn, he basically didn’t see it coming, he was a sitting duck.

“It was a bit of a free shot.”

Swain was cited for the shot and was scheduled to appear before SANZAAR’s judicial committee on Monday night with the outcome set to be announced sometime Tuesday.

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The hit has had ramifications throughout both teams.

Swain will likely receive a hefty ban, especially if the committee is to take into account his recent track record with foul play.

Swain received a red card for head-butting England lock Johnny Hill in the July series earlier this year, a World Rugby committee at that time handed Swain a two-week ban.

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The All Blacks are down two midfielders, Tupaea’s knee injury is in addition to David Havili’s concussion.

A new backline could see Beauden Barrett start at 15 and brother Jordie get his opportunity in the midfield with rugby league convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck potentially in the mix off the bench.

Barrett went on to express further sympathy for his midfield teammate.

“I feel for him because he’s going to be out of the game for a long period of time.

“I’m not too sure what’s happening in their camp with Darcy Swain.

“Of course I feel for him (Tupaea), we don’t like to see these sorts of injuries .”

All Black centurion Aaron Smith also added to Barrett’s sentiment, with a brief comment referencing Swain’s actions.

“Seeing Quinn like that on Friday was pretty tough,” Smith said.

“You always feel for the brothers and injuries happen in rugby, but you know, some can be controlled.”

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