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'So reckless': Another red card dished out to 'recidivist' Scott Barrett

By Sam Smith
Scott Barrett. (Photo by Peter Meecham/Getty Images)

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Against the Blues on Friday evening, Scott Barrett became the third All Blacks to be sent off in a Super Rugby Pacific match in four weeks, following in the footsteps of Nepo Laulala and Caleb Clarke.

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While Clarke’s reckless play – the winger jumping to charge down a kick from Moana Pasifika’s Tomasi Alosio but clattering into his head in the process – was widely chalked up as carelessness, few had any complaints with Lauala’s sending off, which was a result of the prop shouldering the head of Fine Inisi during a ruck clear-out, and some were even asking for an extended ban for the 40-test All Black.

Both Clarke and Laulala were handed three-week bans, however, and it appears likely that Barrett will face a similar sanction after a reckless tackle in Friday’s defeat at the hands of the Blues.

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Barrett’s indiscretion occurred shortly after halftime with the Crusaders captain’s shoulder connecting with Blues prop Alex Hodgman’s jaw while attempting to floor the 2020 test debutant. Hodgman – who was already being held by two other Crusaders players.

It only took a quick check with the TMO for Mike Fraser to conclude that a red card was the obvious punishment for the hit and the Crusaders were reduced to 14 men for the next 20 minutes while Hodgman also had to leave the field.

Just moments later, Blues hooker Kurt Eklund crashed over from a driving maul to take the Blues out to a 24-10 lead and it was that try that ultimately proved the difference in the match, with the Crusaders scoring one late to bring themselves with touching distance of their opposition, but they weren’t able to do enough to nab the win.

Barrett has begun to develop a reputation for similarly careless (at best) acts, and was also sent off against the Wallabies in 2019 for a similar hit on Michael Hooper.

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Fans were very much unimpressed with Barrett for the foolish tackle – especially given the understandable crackdown that referees have launched on dangerous play in recent times – and took to social media to vent their frustrations.

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Barrett’s inevitable suspension will further trouble the Crusaders’ locking depth.

Although Sam Whitelock is expected to be back next weekend after breaking his finger against the Chiefs earlier in the season, the Crusaders have also lost Mitch Dunshea for the season and Quinten Strange for up to eight weeks. Ironically, one man who could have stepped in to help – former All Black Luke Romanotransferred to the Blues this season and was a top performer in Friday night’s clash.

That likely means plenty more game time for rookie locks Zach Gallagher and Dominic Gardiner.

The Crusaders are next set to play in Melbourne against the Rebels next Sunday.

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