It was the ongoing inconsistencies that really spoilt this encounter.
New Zealand referee Ben O’Keeffe, who has been responsible for some of the most shocking match official mistakes this season, added another chapter to his growing resume of howlers.
First he issued a red card to Sunwolves loose forward Edward Quirk for a ‘closed fist to the head’ – which was no more than a rubbing motion.
Then he decided that Reds loose forward Caleb Timu’s driving shoulder to the head of a prone player on the ground was just a yellow card.
That and other questionable calls took all the gloss of what was otherwise an entertaining fixture.
Reds coach Brad Thorn slammed the red card shown to Ed Quirk in his side’s big win over the Sunwolves, labelling the alleged “closed fist” action as nothing more than a love tap.
Former All Blacks forward Thorn vehemently disagreed with the referee’s decision.
“For me, for a red card, it has to be something really big,” Thorn said.
“[Red cards] are for horrendous spear tackles, someone kicking someone on the ground, eye gouging horrendously or something – not love taps.”
The contest was essentially over from the time of Quirk’s dismissal with the Reds leading the Sunwolves 22-13 before powerhouse tighthead prop Taniela Tupou stretched out to score moments before half-time.
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