All Blacks captain's classy post-match act for Aussie rival

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Seen here, All Blacks captain Sam Cane presents Wallabies prop James Slipper with a bottle of wine.
All Blacks captain Sam Cane was involved in a classy moment with Wallabies prop James Slipper after the final whistle. Pic: Ch10

Two controversial red cards dominated the wash-up to the Wallabies' thrilling Bledisloe Cup win on Saturday night but a moment of beautiful sportsmanship between the Trans-Tasman rivals shone through after the final whistle.

Australia rebounded from a record defeat in Sydney a week ago to claim a chaotic Bledisloe Cup Test victory, courtesy of a 24-22 win over New Zealand in Brisbane.

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Both sides were down to 14 men before halftime, with Lachie Swinton becoming the first Wallabies debutant to be red-carded.

He followed All Blacks forward Ofa Tu'ungafasi to the sheds for near-identical high tackles, that sparked furious debate between commentators, former players and fans on social media.

The incidents were capped off a crazy Test match that also included two yellow cards and plenty of niggle between both sides.

One such heated stand-off occurred between All Blacks captain Sam Cane and Aussie prop James Slipper, who almost came to blows in a spiteful first half incident.

Sadly for Slipper - celebrating a 100-Test milestone for the Wallabies - the former skipper didn't last much longer after being replaced before halftime due to a wrist injury.

James Slipper is seen here being attended to after suffering a wrist injury.
A wrist injury sadly cut short Slipper's 100th Test for the Wallabies. Pic: Getty

In an awesome sign of respect between the two sides, however, the animosity between Slipper and Cane was left on the field as soon as the final whistle blew.

And in a classy touch from Cane and the All Blacks, the New Zealand skipper presented the Aussie centurion with a bottle of wine after the match, to mark his amazing milestone.

The pair then hugged it out in a touching post-script that drew praise from fans on social media.

Fresh off their record 43-5 hiding in Sydney last week, it was the Wallabies who controlled the second half of the match to win a seventh-straight Test at Suncorp Stadium.

Makeshift No.10 Reece Hodge's boot and a late Taniela Tupou try put the Wallabies up by nine, but it took a crushing Marika Koroibete tackle to snuff out the All Blacks' hopes after New Zealand hit back with a 78th-minute try of their own.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was content to cop Swinton's call after Tu'ungafasi had suffered the same fate for a similar offence, while captain Michael Hooper had no complaints about the dismissal.

"We don't train to tackle around the head and we have to talk about player safety ... we want players playing as long as we possibly can in this game," Hooper said.

"If that's the interpretation from up top, we've got to be better and tackle lower."

Mixed reactions to red card incidents

Rennie was more concerned with celebrating a maiden victory after a draw and two heavy losses from his first three games in charge.

"We saw plenty of character out there; both sides, there were some curveballs. (I'm) really proud of the steel that we showed and the impact we got off the bench to seal the win."

Winger Tom Wright landed the first blow of an action-packed match, scoring with his first touch in Test rugby.

His reward was to find himself on the receiving end of a thumping Tu'ungafasi challenge that initially brought pats on the back for the New Zealand forward.

Replays showed Tu'ungafasi had hit Wright on the chin, though, with no mitigating factors leaving referee Nic Berry reaching for the red card in the 23rd minute.

It should have been the decisive advantage, but instead the Wallabies finished the half with one man fewer on the park than the All Blacks.

First debutant Swinton replicated Tu'ungafasi's hit with a challenge on Sam Whitelock, except without any signs of his arms in the tackle, to recklessly earn a red of his own.

The All Blacks captain said he didn't think either Tuungafasi or Swinton had been looking to harm their opponents and suggested they were both unlucky to be sent off.

"It's a fast moving game and there's big collisions, and every now and then players get it slightly wrong," Cane said.

"I don't think either was malicious - they were just slightly off."

Winger Koroibete was then yellow-carded for a line-ball penalty that was deemed the final straw as the Wallabies desperately defended on halftime.

Hodge's boot - he kicked five-of-seven for the night - kept the scores tight despite Codie Taylor's try against the grain for the Kiwis.

The tide turned when New Zealand's Scott Barrett found himself sin-binned for a ruck infringement, Hodge kicking the Wallabies clear before Tupou burrowed over and they hung on to salvage some pride in a 2-1-1 series loss.

with AAP