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'This shouldn't even be a yellow': Ex-All Black launches defence of Scott Barrett

By Kim Ekin
Scott Barrett of New Zealand is shown a yellow card by Referee Matthew Carley during the Summer International match between New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on August 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ex-All Black Jeff Wilson has come to the defence of lock Scott Barrett who was yellow carded twice, leading to a red card, in the 35-7 loss to South Africa.


The former All Black believed that the decision to yellow card Barrett a second time was not justified, with no contact to the head apparent.

The indiscretion came from leaving his feet to clear a player out, but that alone does not constitute a yellow card.

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“I’m going to go straight on the offensive here, there is no way that Scott Barrett should get any type of suspension,” Wilson claimed on Sky Sport’s The Breakdown.

“The fact that he is in front of the judicial process is ridiculous because ultimately, for me, this shouldn’t even be a yellow for going off his feet.

“The contact wasn’t direct with the head, it was on the body, it was on the shoulder. Watch where the first contact is.

“There is no doubt he’s gone off his feet, but he’s hit him in the shoulder first and then there has been a collision with the player beside him.”


Upon review by the bunker, there was no upgrade for Barrett according head coach Ian Foster but even the All Blacks head coach said they had not got any feedback on the incident.

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Barrett’s cleanout was no different to many others in the same game by some of the Springboks players according to Wilson, who highlighted instances of South African forwards launching off their feet at Dane Coles.

“The number of cleanouts that happen in the game like this, this happens all the time,” Wilson said.

“The fact that he got it wrong, he made a mistake. But there is no way we go into a Rugby World Cup and that this is going to be the standard.


“I want to show you couple of cleanouts by the Springboks in this game.

“Watch Dane Coles here on the ball, player comes in off the ground [Vermeulen]. Watch another here, on the back of Dane Coles’ head that cleanout.

“Two guys going to ground. Now, if Dane Coles stays down, takes a knee, can I have a look at that please? Ok, shoulder on the back of the neck, what’s the outcome on that?

“That’s every collision, so for me, the margins we are talking about are small and some of the frustrations we are going to have, if we see inconsistency.”

Head coach Ian Foster was hopeful the judiciary would come to the right decision when they meet early this week to decide Barrett’s fate with two weeks until the Rugby World Cup opener against France.

“The facts are he [Barrett] got a first yellow card that wasn’t foul play, the second yellow card, was a yellow card, so it wasn’t a red card, so we’ll just have to see,” he said.

“The judiciary fortunately don’t judge things on the reaction of the opposition, they judge things on the facts.”


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