All Blacks ace gets first ever Rugby World Cup final red as pundit ‘grimaces’

Sam Cane has been shown the first-ever red card in Rugby World Cup final history for a nasty tackle on Jesse Kriel that left Sam Warburton grimacing. New Zealand’s skipper had his yellow card upgraded to a red for a ‘high degree of danger’ in the tackle.

Cane was sent to the bin on the stroke of half-time for a high tackle but a TMO review determined it was serious enough to lead to a straight ejection. At the break, the All-Blacks trail by six points (12-6) and have been left with a mountain to climb heading into the second stanza.

Ian Foster’s side will have to play the rest of this match with 14 men against the three-time Webb Ellis Cup winners. But there was no controversy surrounding the decision. Most pundits feel the sending-off was the right call.

Andrew Mehrtens said on BBC Radio 5 LIVE: “I thought there were mitigating factors, but when you see it in slow motion it is a red. In real speed, there is not a lot different that Sam Cane could have done.”

Meanwhile, Warburton was left grimacing by the challenge in the ITV commentary booth. “That’s again under review,” said Nick Mullins. “So a yellow may well be upgraded. That Sam you’re grimacing.”

Even Kiwi Sean Fitzpatrick admitted the dismissal was correct. “When you look at it like that in real-time, there’s no doubt it’s a red card,” Fitzpatrick said on the ITV panel at halftime.  “But we’ve got to get on with it.”

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All Blacks centre Rieko Ioane came agonisingly close to scoring the first try of the evening before the break but Cheslin Kolbe stopped him in his tracks with an excellent covering tackle. 

So far, Handre Pollard and Richie Mo’unga have been the only names on the scoresheet courtesy of several penalties in the heated clash.

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