Fans and commentators have been left gobsmacked after Waisake Naholo wasn’t sent-off for a dangerous tackle on Israel Folau.
Naholo lifted Folau in an ugly tackle just three minutes into the first Bledisloe Cup clash on Saturday night, resulting in the Aussie winger going head-first into the turf.
Folau appeared lucky he put his arm out to stop his fall, otherwise it could have been much worse.
“If Folau doesn’t put his arm out that might’ve been a red card,” Matthew Burke said in commentary.
However commentators were left stunned when the referee didn’t even issue a yellow card, allowing Naholo to stay on the field.
In rugby, any dangerous lifting tackle in which a player puts an opponent above the horizontal usually results in 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
Fans were also fuming that the ugly tackle only resulted in a penalty.
Naholo supposed to be 3 minutes in the bin now
— Nash (@nashdondashe) August 18, 2018
How was Naholo not binned? He had no control of Folau. Rubbish #AUSvNZL
— Matt Cassidy (@Cass_maitias) August 18, 2018
Naholo drove him to the floor there? Very lucky not to be in the changing room.
— Alex Chinery (@iamalexchinery) August 18, 2018
— Will Kelleher (@willgkelleher) August 18, 2018
Surely Naholo can’t stay on the field? He drove him into the ground head first?!?! #bledisloecup2018
— Kev Hearn (@Kev_Hearn) August 18, 2018
— Paul Twomey (@toomsta) August 18, 2018
All Blacks hand Wallabies brutal reality check
The All Blacks have once again put the Wallabies to the sword to draw first blood in the 2018 Bledisloe Cup series with a crushing 38-13 victory at ANZ Stadium.
Five All Blacks second-half tries stunned the Wallabies, who now face the daunting prospect of needing to win in Auckland next Saturday for the first time since 1986 to prevent the trophy staying in New Zealand for a 16th straight year.
Compounding Australia’s pain was a leg injury to superstar fullback Israel Folau, who cut a dejected figure as he hobbled off after 65 minutes after landing awkwardly from an aerial challenge.
The Wallabies suffered a setback even before the kick-off, with powerhouse prop Taniela Tupou ruled out after straining his hamstring during Friday’s captain’s run, replaced by uncapped Melbourne Rebel Jermaine Ainsley.
The All Blacks suffered their own first-half blow, with centre Ryan Crotty concussed in the 13th minute after clashing heads with teammate Beauden Barrett.
Australia’s set piece looked shaky early, with the Wallabies losing their first two lineouts and collapsing the opening scrum of the night.
But after steadying, the Wallabies dominated much of the first half through stern defence, with penalty goals from Reece Hodge and Bernard Foley earning the hosts a well-deserved 6-0 lead.
The Wallabies were 90 seconds away from keeping the All Blacks scoreless in the opening half of Test for the first time since the 1991 World Cup semi-final before halfback Aaron Smith crossed just before the interval.
Despite the late lapse, Michael Cheika’s men enjoyed a 6-5 advantage at the break – after trudging to the same sheds trailing 40-6 at halftime in last year’s corresponding fixture.
But the match turned with two signature All Blacks strikes early in the second stanza.
First, Jack Goodhue finished off an 85-metre counter-attack, then Beauden Barrett showcased his soccer skills to score a telling opportunistic try nine minutes later to suddenly leave the world champions 19-6 clear.
It was all over when man-of-the-match Brodie Retallick crossed to make it 26-6.
The highlight of an otherwise forgettable night for Wallabies fans was a try on debut for young gun Jack Maddocks, a second-half replacement for winger Dane Haylett-Petty.
But a late double to All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo completed the humiliation for the Wallabies in front of 66,318 fans at the Olympic stadium.