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'Dull' - Little sympathy for Salakaia-Loto after red card shocker - Tri Nations

By Ian Cameron
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto /Getty

There was very little sympathy for Wallabies forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who became the latest player to receive a red card in the 2020 Tri Nations.

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Salakaia-Loto was sent off in the 60th minute as Australia trailed the Pumas at Bankwest Stadium, an incident that at the time look like it had resigned the Australians to their latest loss 20 minutes out from the final whistle. The 14-man Wallabies clawed it back to a draw, though no thanks to the clumsy challenge of Salakaia-Loto.

Referee Angus Gardner had already given out two first-half yellow cards for high shot entries into the rucks, and social media was unsympathetic to the challenge by the 6’6, 118kg forward on Argentinian blindside Santiago Grondona.

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While it started as a head to head contact, there was clear follow through to the head from the shoulder of the Wallaby, who came in high and finished high.

Former England and Gloucester winger James Simpson-Daniel described the hit as ‘dull’. “Such a dull red card in the Aus vs Arg rugby game. Players have to learn you can’t go high. Do the same tackle around the waist.”

“Shoulder to the head… red for me, Clive.”

“Salakaia-Loto must have missed rugby for the last 18 months #AUSvARG Red card for the most red card challenge you’ll see”.

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“Let’s be clear. Anybody who disputes that being a red card is an imbecile. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but the onus is on the tackler,” wrote one account. “We’ve got to make this sport safer for future generations, and out of respect for the players’ heads damaged in years gone by”

There were many more in that vein.

There were a few who were rocking ‘the game’s gone soft’ angle though, an argument that had been made ad nausuem when the Wallabies beat the All Blacks in November.

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One thing is clear, as referees increasingly clamp down on head contacts, the viewing public are becoming less tolerant of players involved in obviously dangerous tackles.

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B.J. Spratt 4 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

You Poms and Paddies are really nice guys. New Zealand V Ireland - 37 Tests - N.Z. 31 Wins - Ireland 5 Wins - 1 draw. New Zealand V England - 45 Tests - N.Z. 35 Wins -England 8 Wins - 2 draws. Combined - You have beaten the All Blacks 13 Times in 82 attempts over 119 years. The Stats over 100 years + would say, especially England with 6 Times the player pool than New Zealand, you have “a limitation of context” regarding developing your coaches to teach your players how to WIN. So how can England with a 6 times the player numbers have a 17% winning strike rate against New Zealand? and be 8 -0 in Test Series over 100 years. The answer is simple. Your perception of the game. How do you fix it? You need to play in New Zealand for a couple of seasons in your teens, 18 -20 or send coaches over here. Martin Johnstone played 2 seasons here under the mentorship of Colin Meads. When he came here he had rugby shorts with pockets and a handkerchief in one pocket. He played for NZ Under 21 against Wallaby John Eales. He became the toughest player in the game and the best ever English Captain and Captained the Lions twice. Legend! Maybe if he hadn’t come to New Zealand, he may still had those rugby shorts with pockets. Recently Rogan O’Gara spent time at the Crusaders. What a great coach. “Our “mindset is different” and that’s how we have beaten you for 100 years + How the hell he isn’t Coaching Ireland, France, England, Wales, or Scotland I will never know? England has 131,000 Senior rugby Players. Ireland has 21,000 Senior Players. New Zealand has 27,000 Senior Players.

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