Australia head coach Dave Rennie has hit out at France captain Anthony Jelonch for his reaction to a tackle that resulted in Marika Koroibete being sent off.
Wallabies winger Koroibete was shown a red card after just four minutes during his side’s dramatic 33-30 win against France, after his shoulderwas deemed to have made contact with Jelonch’s neck/head by referee Ben O’Keefe.
While the tackle did appear to be high, Jelonch seemed to be fine in the immediate aftermath of the hit, before he then put his hand on his face and flopped to the floor.
Rennie was speaking to Australian broadcaster Nine after the game and criticised Jelonch’s actions, while saying that his players were also on the receiving end of high tackles.
🔴 Controversy! 🔴
Marika Koroibete has been red-carded inside the first 5️⃣ minutes. 🤨
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) July 17, 2021
Dave Rennie on the difference between Australia and France’s players.
“There was a couple of situations where our guys got clocked in the head but they didn’t stay down. They just get up and get on with it. So maybe that’s the difference,” Rennie said.
While the red card didn’t stop the Wallabies from claiming a thrilling victory against the French in Brisbane to seal the test series, the decision to send off Koroibete was roundly criticised.
Former New Zealand international Sonny Bill Williams was on punditry duty for Nine after the game and argued that “common sense” must be a factor when making such big decisions.
Sonny Bill Williams: ‘I would like to see a common sense rule.’
“To be honest, it’s very disappointing that a ref’s decision could potentially determine the outcome of such a big game,” Williams commented.
“Yes, we need to protect players’ safety but we need to protect the game too. What I would like to see is a common sense rule come into play.
“The punter at home watching that knows [Jelonch] is going to be able to get up an play the rest of the 80 minutes. Why, for a contact like that, are we going to rule [Koroibete] out for the rest of the game? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
“We need to protect players safety, but we need to protect the game too.” 👀
A common sense ruling needs to be introduced to rugby according to SBW. 🤔
— Rugby on Nine (@RugbyOnNine) July 17, 2021
Jelonch came off for a head injury assessment after the tackle but did return to the field and ended up playing the rest of the match.
Koroibete, who was arguably Australia’s best player in the second test against the French, will likely be ruled out for three to four games for his high tackle, unless a citing commissioner overrules the on-field decision.