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'Let's return to reality - Ireland must exercise caution'

Irish expectation soars as Andy Farrell's team sweeps all in its path, but cool heads are needed if they are to heed mistakes of the past

'That's a high degree of danger with no mitigation... red card'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

Ian Foster has jumped to the defence of red-carded All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick following his dismissal in the close-run win over Japan on Saturday. The 31-year-old second row was given his marching orders in the 66th minute of the 38-31 victory in Tokyo, the first match in a four-Test tour that includes November games away to Wales, Scotland and England.


It was just the eighth time that an All Blacks player had ever been sent off, but the red card left the team having to cling on in a game that Foster’s side ended by getting Richie Mo’unga to kick a late penalty to seal the seven-point win.

The All Blacks were leading 35-24 when the clock was stopped at 65:06 for Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli to review footage of breakdown play that had taken place outside the Japanese 22 with New Zealand looking to recycle ruck ball only to get it slowed by the poaching Kazuki Himeno.

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After Rettalick cleared away the nuisance of Himeno with a shoulder to the back of the Japanese player’s neck so that the ball was freed up, the play was halted and Amashukeli was told by his TMO: “We are going to play that for you again. We are going to go back. Have a look at the actions of No4 Black.”

This the referee did and having decided a red card offence had been committed, Amashukeli told Retallick: “You have come from a distance with a tucked shoulder and you have made a contact with the player’s neck. That’s a high degree of danger with no mitigation. That’s a red card.”

All Blacks boss Foster didn’t agree with the Retallick sending-off. Speaking post-game in a Sky Sport interview, he said: “We are going to have a good look at it. I certainly didn’t see any intention, apart from trying to move a body. That’s a process we will have to go through.”


Retallick was winning his 99th Test cap in Tokyo and he would have hoped to become an international-level centurion in the coming weeks. However, three-week bans have become the regular punishment at disciplinary hearings for red-carded tackles and that length of suspension would leave the All Blacks forward waiting until 2023 to reach the 100-appearance career milestone.


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