New Zealand-based rugby writer Mark Reason has accused some Kiwi players of lashing out in Super Rugby after the All Blacks’ World Cup failure.
In a column for Stuff.co.nz, Reason wrote that while the New Zealand teams had produced some ‘fabulous rugby’ during the first two weeks of Super Rugby’ he is ‘concerned that something ugly is bubbling in parts of the game’.
Reason put it down to the All Blacks’ disappointing semi-final exit at last year’s World Cup, which was won by the Springboks.
‘Some coaches and players appear to be seeking vengeance,’ he said. ‘They want their kilogramme of flesh.
‘The first major sign of roguery was during the Hurricanes’ defeat on the opening weekend of Super Rugby. They were well beaten by the Stormers and too many of the team reacted like petulant children. Some of the tackling was grotesque.
‘The worst hit was the “tackle” of Ricky Riccitelli on Siya Kolisi. It was an act of cowardly thuggery. The Springboks captain had already long passed the ball when the Hurricanes hooker blindsided him with a shoulder into the knee. It was ridiculously late and has put the Springbok captain out of the game for around six weeks.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) February 1, 2020
‘Riccitelli did not even look at Kolisi, an icon of the game, as he was helped off the pitch. And to rugby’s shame, nothing has subsequently been done about it. We need sanctions for this sort of thing. Why should the victims, the Stormers and Kolisi, suffer, but the thugs escape unpunished.
‘You would have liked to think that the Hurricanes coaching staff would have publicly apologised after the game for this and many other cheap shots their players perpetrated. But we know what happens when New Zealand rugby is criticised. They jump into the sandpit and go into the denial mode of a small child.’