New Zealand coach Ian Foster said a new rule allowing red-carded players to be replaced stood vindicated after Jordie Barrett was controversially sent off Sunday in the Bledisloe Cup finale in Perth.
The All Blacks enjoyed a crushing 38-21 victory over Australia in front of a near-capacity crowd of 52 724 at Optus Stadium.
It completed an emphatic clean sweep of the Bledisloe Cup for the rampaging All Blacks, who were shorthanded for 20 minutes after Barrett was red-carded mid-way through a physical first half.
Under revamped Rugby Championship rules, teams can replace a red-carded player 20 minutes after the sending off.
The new rule was trialled in Super Rugby and had been heavily pushed by SANZAAR – comprising governing bodies of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
Foster said he was “pretty surprised” with Barrett’s red card after the fullback’s boot came into contact with Marika Koroibete’s face while leaping for the ball.
“He just lost balance and you could see what happened,” Foster said of the incident.
“I feel for the refs in these situations.”
Coincidentally, Barrett’s older brother – Scott Barrett – was sent off at the same venue two years ago, triggering the Wallabies’ 47-26 upset of the All Blacks, who played more than a half undermanned.
“We probably benefited (today) but we were a keen supporter (of the rule) even before the game,” Foster said.
“Today’s incident probably justifies it. It’s why all the SANZAAR countries are united in carrying on this global trial.”
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie believed Barrett “wasn’t malicious” but deserved punishment.
“The decision was accurate. Based on the law, there is going to be repercussions for that,” he said.
“But (the All Blacks being shorthanded) for only 20 minutes was a good thing.”
The Wallabies were left to rue an inability to capitalise on Barrett’s early exit.
“We had chances to score but we didn’t,” Rennie said.
“We couldn’t put enough scoreboard pressure on them today.”