'Horror hit': Claims ABs deliberately targeted captain

Scott Barrett (left) is shown the red card for dangerous play against Wallaby Michael Hooper....
Scott Barrett (left) is shown the red card for dangerous play against Wallaby Michael Hooper. Photo: Getty Images
Scott Barrett's red card tackle in the Bledisloe Cup has been labelled a "horror hit" after the Australian broadcasters found a new video angle.

The traditional transtasman contest is threatening to erupt with claim and counter claim over illegal tactics as the All Blacks and Wallabies prepare for Saturday night's showdown at Eden Park.

Both camps were initially measured in public comments after an exhilarating test in Perth, with victorious Wallaby coach Michael Cheika expressing some sympathy for Barrett and All Blacks admitting the lock got his tackle wrong.

Wallaby captain Michael Hooper was on the receiving end of two illegal hits in the game, the Barrett shoulder charge and a petulant act from flanker Ardie Save who shoved his head into the ground.

Under a 'horror hit" headline, Fox Sports today produced a video angle on the Barrett tackle which it said had not been shown during the broadcast.

It shows Barrett clearly hitting the back of Hooper's head with a powerful forearm, and the little Wallaby flanker reeling away in instant pain.

That is backed up with quotes from former Wallaby-turned-TV analyst Rod Kafer, who said: "This was a deliberate act, attacking a player's head with a shoulder and elbow in a vulnerable position.

"No question, it's a red card.

"You go into games trying to unsettle the leaders of an opposition team, it's pretty standard.

"And looking back at the game, it didn't surprise me to see those two illegal acts on the Wallaby captain — it may well have been part of the tactic going into the game."

Kafer, Rugby Australia's elite coaching boss until three months ago, rejected any claim the game was going soft in red carding Barrett.

Brumbies assistant coach Laurie Fisher has suggested World Rugby adjust the red card law, so a replacement comes on 10 minutes after the offender has departed.

Kafer, highly regarded as a rugby thinker since his playing days, urged caution on that.

"I don't think that because there was a red card in a test match that we should be contemplating changes in law," he said.

"There aren't that many red cards in test matches, it has an impact, it's part of the theatre.

"The World Cup gets decided, as it always does, by law. It's pretty clear and easy to adjust to.

"Change your technique or face the consequences."

All Black coach Steve Hansen labelled Savea's actions as dumb but things are turning sour.

All Black flanker Sam Cane this week claimed the Wallabies had used dangerous neck roll tactics to kick of what is shaping as an explosive week before the decider.

The same squad of officials will take charge of Bledisloe Two, but South African Jaco Peyper replaces France's Jerome Garces as the man in the middle.

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