Born in Timaru, Atonio – who plays his club rugby for La Rochelle – says the team fully expect referees to err on the side of the men in black.
“It was always going to be like that. He didn’t do it intentionally. If Beauden Barrett jumped up and he (Fall) jumped up and tackled him, then yes, of course, it’s a red card, that’s fair.
“But he had his eyes on the ball the whole time, he never stopped looking at the ball and at worst it was a yellow card.
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“The week before Ofa Tu’ungafasi put a shoulder to a head and that should have been a red card.
“We didn’t say anything, we let it go, we’re not getting refereed the same way.
“I don’t want to be a cry baby or anything, but it’s just not fair.
“It’s always going to be like that because the All Blacks are the best and if you want to beat them, then you have to beat them 15 against 16, that’s the only way we can beat them.”
And Atonio is more than familiar with New Zealand rugby. The giant prop attended Wesley College before entering Counties Manukau rugby academy.
“In rugby you win some, you lose some. We don’t mind losing, if we’re losing to a better team then that’s all right and of course the All Blacks are the best in the world and everyone wants to come here and win against them.
“But if we’re not even getting a little bit of the bounce of the ball, then it’s really tough.”
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