Ireland list 11 All Black 'foul play' incidents

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 21:43

INJURY UPDATE: Robbie Henshaw will miss Ireland's final international of 2016 against Australia.

He has been ruled out as a result of the concussion he suffered during last weekend's bruising defeat to World Cup champions New Zealand.

The Irish management added they regarded the relative lack of disciplinary action against the All Blacks as "disappointing".

Mick Keaney, Ireland's team manager, said the citing officer raised 12 incidents - 11 concerning New Zealand - following the All Blacks' 21-9 win at Dublin's Lansdowne Road last Saturday.

New Zealand's Malakai Fekitoa and Sam Cane do, however, both face the possibility of being banned ahead of Saturday's match against France in Paris after they were each cited for "tackling an opponent dangerously".

Jaco Peyper sin-binned Fekitoa, who scored two of New Zealand's three tries, for a high tackle on Simon Zebo.

But the South African referee merely awarded a penalty for a high shot by flank Cane on centre Henshaw, who scored the clinching try as the Irish beat New Zealand 40-29 in Chicago a fortnight earlier for a first ever win over New Zealand.

Henshaw left the field on a stretcher.

Peyper's decision to let Cane play on came just weeks after World Rugby, the sport's global governing body, urged referees to be "especially vigilant" when dealing with head-high tackles.

"The evidence is fairly clear that Robbie took a shoulder to the jaw, which knocked him unconscious before he hit the ground," Kearney said.

"He came in this [Monday] morning to see the doctor and has since gone home.

"The citing officer picked out 12 incidents during the game; 11 of them referred to New Zealand.

"The one that referred to us was a clean-out of Sam Cane at a ruck and we were cleared of any foul play in that incident."

Kearney added: "It is disappointing, to be honest. There were a number of tackles and bangs around the head.

"World Rugby had said if these incidents occur then you are liable to a red card, possibly. So that obviously didn't happen at the weekend."

There has long been a belief among many within rugby that New Zealand players 'get away' with offences that are routinely punished when committed by other teams.

Earlier, former England centre Jeremy Guscott urged officials to be "better" at punishing the All Blacks.  

"Referees need to look harder at New Zealand," Guscott wrote in his BBC column.

"The All Blacks have to watch their high tackles - they have got a reputation for it and have had two players cited from Saturday - but for all that, you can't blame the players.

"I'm not one who thinks their players go out there to hurt anyone illegally," insisted Guscott.

"There is ferocity in everything they do and they take everything to the limit, but it is up to the referee to be better at seeing and penalising them."

As for the incident that ended Henshaw's match last Saturday, Guscott said: "If Cane had been sin-binned you could not have argued."

Meanwhile, Kearney also confirmed that Jonathan Sexton (hamstring) will play no part in Saturday's year-end finale against Australia in Dublin.

Both Sexton and Henshaw suffered their injuries during a bruising opening quarter against New Zealand at the weekend.

Christian Stander was also taken off with suspected concussion midway through the first half.

Henshaw had to be stretchered off following an 11th-minute tackle from Sam Cane, while Sexton was withdrawn soon after with a minor hamstring injury.

It is anticipated that the flyhalf will be sidelined for 'one to two weeks'.

Rob Kearney (concussive symptoms) and Simon Zebo (cramp) were added to Ireland's list of injuries after the mile-a-minute defeat to the All Blacks.

Stander and Kearney are due to go through the return-to-play protocols, and Zebo is expected to return to full training by Thursday at the latest.

Ultan Dillane, Keith Earls and Peter O'Mahony are all expected to return to training this week, with flank O'Mahony having played a big role in Ireland's thrilling 26-23 home victory over the Wallabies two years ago.