'Stinger' the cause of Nonu's foul play
'Stinger' the cause of Nonu's foul playSHARE
All Black coach Steve Hansen suggested controversial midfielder Ma'a Nonu had an 'injured' shoulder, which caused him to execute an illegal tackle.
Nonu came under fire from the Wallabies for a shoulder charge that levelled prop James Slipper during the first half of the All Blacks' 27-16 Rugby Championship win in Wellington at the weekend.
While Nonu escape sanction, the Wallabies were not happy with the conduct of a player with a history of dangerous tackles.
This year alone Nonu was banned and carded twice for dangerous tackles – his Super Rugby season coming to an abrupt end in July after he was slapped with a three-week ban after being red-carded for a spear tackle executed on Crusaders rival Tom Marshall and earlier in the season he received a yellow card for his shoulder charge on Blues scrumhalf Piri Weepu.
However, his brutal attacks on opponents are not limited to this season.
Previously – while playing for the Hurricanes – he was banned for an equally disgusting and dangerous shoulder charge on All Black teammate Jimmy Cowan, then playing for the Highlanders, while a couple of years ago he was also banned for a dangerous tackle on Highlanders front row forward Clint Newland.
Despite his extensive history and propensity to acts of violence on the field, the All Black coach saw fit to defend Nonu.
Neither referee Jaco Peyper or his assistants took any action at the time and for the citing commissioner to act he would have had to adjudge Nonu's tackle a sending off offence.
"At the time he [Nonu] had a bit of a stinger [on his other shoulder] and I think he just turned his back on him," Hansen told a media scrum.
"We're not playing tiddlywinks. It's a man's game and I think sometimes we get a wee bit carried away.
"I think it was worthy of looking at. The rules say you have to tackle with your arms, but I don't think it was a red card offence. Therefore he didn't get cited and I agree with that."
However, Australian coach Ewen McKenzie made his feelings clear when asked after the Test what he made of the tackle in the 22nd minute.
"Well, I've seen it. I know what the law is so I'll leave it to someone else to work it out," he said.
"Those things just go on and I just sit there and sometimes [I'm] bemused at how those things happen and nothing ever happens."
McKenzie said he'd "move on", but clearly felt the citing commissioner should have a closer look.
"Someone will either do something about it or not, or it'll be acceptable, or it won't."
Watch Ma'a Nonu's spear tackle on Tom Taylor
Watch Ma'a Nonu shoulder charge Piri Weepu