Hansen weighs in on World Cup cards - “they were fair”

By Jamie Wall

Steve Hansen

All Black coach Steve Hansen has admitted that the tackle height area is a serious challenge for players. His comments come a day after two All Blacks, props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi, were yellow carded after making contact with two Namibian players’ heads in their 71-9 win.

He talked to the media today at the team’s hotel in Maihama, Tokyo, and said that coaching staff needed to “accept it [the law interpretations], find a solution and move on.”

“Are we working on how to deal with a ball carrier falling over in the middle of a tackle…yeah we are because obviously under the guidelines the yellow cards were fair” he said.

“But the game is incredibly difficult under those guidelines when players are falling at your feet.”

Both Laulala and Tuungafasi immediately showed remorse at the tackles they made, and under the mitigating circumstances it meant that they received yellow rather than red cards.

Discipline has been a major issue at the World Cup so far, often overshadowing the results themselves. Hansen conceded that it was likely that a rough call could decide one of the upcoming knockout games.

The All Blacks have one more pool game to go, against Italy in Toyota City this weekend. They will be keeping a close eye on the results of Pool A though, because they could be in line to face any of Ireland, Scotland or host nation Japan.