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09th Jul 2022

Leicester Fainga’anuku escapes red card after brutal collision with Mack Hansen

Patrick McCarry

Mack Hansen

“Yeah. That was reckless, for me.”

Former Blues and Leinster star Isa Nacewa may have felt it was reckless, but Alan Quinlan believed All Blacks winger Leicester Fainga’anuku should have seen red for a dangerous hit on Mack Hansen.

Ireland, for the second week running, were off to a flyer against hosts New Zealand, and they led through an early, converted Andrew Porter try:

Mack Hansen taken out after kick

Fainga’anuku and Dalton Papalii clattered into Hansen, 17 minutes into the Second Test in Dunedin, after he kicked the ball up the right touchline.

The Television Match Official brought the incident to the attention of referee Jaco Peyper, and replays were put up on the big screens for all to see.

Initial looks seemed to suggest Fainga’anuku would be red-carded – Quinlan definitely believed so – but Peyper reasoned, along with his TMO, that first contact was with the chest of Hansen before, a split second later, his arm mashed into the head of the Connacht man.

Red card eventually arrives, for replacement prop

It was a huge call and, needless to say, it caused huge controversy inside the stadium, with Irish fans booing and the home supporters cheering in relief as the yellow only was flashed.

As the South African referee explained to the All Blacks why their winger was heading to the sin-bin, captain Sam Cane asked if it was better if keeping both arms up was better for trying to block down a kick.

Just over 10 minutes later and there was a red card, though. Replacement tighthead Angus Ta’avao was sent off for going in too upright and colliding heads with ball-carrier Garry Ringrose.

Peyper initially said, “It looks like an accident,” but replays should that was not the case and the hosts were down to just 14 men [13 for a short period as a player was still in the sin-bin] for the remaining 50 minutes.

In the middle of all that, Peyper denied Ireland a stonewall penalty try when Ringrose was tackled off the ball, with the tryline metres away.

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