All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had little sympathy for Wallaby hooker Tolu Latu, who was sinned binned during the final Bledisloe Cup match in Japan.
The Wallabies fell to New Zealand 20-37 in the third and final Bledisloe Cup Test of 2018, in an action-packed game at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.
Latu’s 66th minute yellow made Australia’s task a difficult one and New Zealand were quick to capitalise thanks to an intercept try for winger Ben Smith.
Hansen was quizzed on the decision in the post-match press conference.
“You’re not allowed to strike someone in the face so it was pretty dumb too weren’t it” said Hansen when asked was the yellow card a harsh decision. “You do dumb things and you get dumb reactions.”
“The ref had no other option by the law, and if he hadn’t done, he’d have probably got tuned up by his bosses.”
“He’s just done what the Law says he should do and given the guy ten minutes.”
The Wallabies trailed by just seven points at the main break but a second half clinic from the world’s number one side helped push the margin out by full-time.
Australia started brightly in Yokohama as Israel Folau scythed through to put the Wallabies on the attack but New Zealand soon clicked into gear as they dominated possession and territory throughout the half.
Kurtley Beale nailed a long penalty goal to narrow the margin but it didn’t last long as Beauden Barrett kicked one of his own before Kieran Read barged over from a scrum on Australia’s line to make the score 3-17 nearing half-time.
A brilliant piece of play off the ensuing kick-off earned Australia possession though and they were quick to strike as Sefa Naivalu scored in the corner to pull the Wallabies back into the contest at the main break.
The Wallabies took the game to New Zealand early in the second half and a Bernard Foley penalty goal after a period of sustained pressure brought the margin back to just four points with 30 minutes left to play.
A slick backline move from New Zealand gave them some breathing space with just over 20 minutes remaining, as Barrett switched the point of attack only to receive the ball back from teammate Rieko Ioane to sprint down the left wing for his five-pointer.
With the margin pushing out to 20 points, Australia launched a series of attacks on New Zealand’s line and Israel Folau stepped his way through the broken defence to score under the posts with five minutes to go.
It wasn’t to be for the Wallabies though, as Rieko Ioane caught them on the counter-attack to seal a 17-point win for the defending World Cup champions.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now