Chiefs centre Johnny Faauli has been slammed by fans after a brutal high tackle left his opponent heavily concussed.
The Chiefs beat the Hurricanes 28-24 on Friday night but it wasn’t enough to snatch hosting rights for a Super Rugby quarter-final.
In a fluctuating final-round clash in Hamilton, the Hurricanes did enough to remain in front of their Kiwi rivals on the standings and secure the first wildcard slot.
The fifth-placed Chiefs needed to beat the fourth-placed Hurricanes by 23 points and secure a bonus point to reverse their positions.
They looked on track to do so after opening up a 21-0 lead at halftime.
The Hurricanes shed their high error count after the break to fight back with four second-half tries.
Their cause was helped by a red card shown to Faauli for a 63rd-minute shoulder to the head of Wes Goosen, which concussed the Hurricanes centre.
Fans and even the Hurricanes themselves took to social media to slam the Chiefs centre.
— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) July 13, 2018
Think they’re spot on Johnny Faauli is a thug
— Jim Locke (@zedsdead23) July 13, 2018
What happened to Johnny Faauli was well overdue.
— Michael Pulman (@realmikepulman) July 13, 2018
Johnny Fa'auli has always struck me as a player who makes a lot of dumb decisions. Tonight he basically handed the Hurricanes a home quarter final when he shoulder charged Wes Goosen in the face. The boy needs to start thinking. At least we won't be playing next week. #CHIvHUR
— Sam Hill (@SamHill886) July 13, 2018
Johnny Fa'auli got a history when it comes to his tackling. Got suspended in 2017 for 4 weeks for a dangerous tackle
— Adrian Slabbert (@adrian_slabbert) July 13, 2018
The result means the Hurricanes host the same opponents in next week’s quarter-final.
The visitors will arrive on a three-match winning tear, while the Hurricanes have slumped to four losses in their past five games.
Adding more merit to the Chiefs’ win was the fact they rested key players this week, including All Blacks pair Damian McKenzie and Sam Cane.
It didn’t stop their team scoring converted tries to lock Brodie Retallick, halfback Brad Weber and fullback Solomon Alaimalo.
Weber’s try was a 70m intercept effort following a loose pass from out-of-sorts Hurricanes playmaker Beauden Barrett.
Goosen began the Hurricanes’ fightback while other tryscorers were Blade Thomson, Ben May and Julian Savea.
Hurricanes skipper Brad Shields could be in doubt next week after exiting in the first quarter with a rib injury.