Opposing Super Rugby coaches Daryl Gibson and Tony Brown have joined All Blacks mentor Steve Hansen in suggesting administrators look at changing the rules so players are put on report rather than being sent off.
Brown’s Sunwolves were reduced to 14 men just before halftime in Sydney on Saturday, when winger Semesi Masirewa was sent off for a lifting tackle on Waratahs’ five-eighth and captain Bernard Foley, who hit the ground head first.
It was a pivotal moment in the match as the Sunwolves led 18-12 just a few minutes earlier, before the Tahs scored two tries to lead 24-18 at the break.
The Tahs routed the undermanned Sunwolves in the second half, running in eight tries on their way to a 77-25 victory.
“A tough one to take as a team, as a coach you’re going ‘yellow card, maybe’,'” acting Sunwolves coach Brown said.
“I don’t think there’s any intent in there. It was just unfortunate.
‘I think it was Steve Hansen said that just put players on report like they do in (rugby) league and play on.
“Maybe a yellow card and then if it’s a serious incident then he gets suspended after the game.’
“Then the game is not affected as much as it was tonight or in the All Blacks Test against France.
In the second Test of that series last month, France fullback Ben Fall was sent off for an aerial collision with Beauden Barrett, which resulted in the All Blacks five-eighth landing on his head.
Afterwards Hansen said: “I know it’s tough but somehow I think that we need to look at something where that can go on report.”
Other football codes, including league and Australian rules allow their officials that option.
Waratahs coach Gibson agreed with Hansen and Brown that a report system should be introduced.
“I certainly support that, the effect that it (the red card) has on the game it takes away the contest,” Gibson said,
“In that instance (with Masirewa) the referee has no option. He’s following to the letter of the law and that’s what he’s required to do.
“Having an intermediary step thats not quite a red card , give him some options, sensible.”
Another Sunwolves player, replacement halfback Fumiaki Tanaka, was only given a yellow card late in the game when he pushed the head of Waratahs’ counterpart Jake Gordon into the ground.