All Blacks were 'disrespectful'
REACTION: Steve Hansen has faced a backlash following his decision to take Ryan Crotty off for the final 15 minutes of the All Blacks’ game against Tonga at the weekend and play with 14 men.
New Zealand were leading the game 92-0 at this point, so Hansen used this as an opportunity to experiment. Tonga actually scored a try in this period making the final score 92-7.
Since then, some former players and pundits have questioned this decision by Hansen and suggested that this showed a lack of respect to Tonga. Likewise, many fans seem to be of the same opinion, and have accused the World Cup-winning coach of arrogance and disrespecting his opponent. This is not something that is seen in Test rugby, and while the game was wrapped up, it has still been seen as condescending and unfair on the fans that have come to watch the game.
Conversely, there are those that support Hansen’s decision, and have questioned why it was disrespectful, as it is ultimately about testing his players. The purpose of these warm-up tests is to ensure that the team is at full capacity and prepared when it comes to the World Cup in under two weeks, and playing with 14 men is something that the All Blacks may encounter at some point during the tournament. Had Hansen decided to do this during a World Cup match, then that is different and would be seen as arrogant.
Moreover, Crotty is returning from injury after missing the entire Rugby Championship, so this offered a chance to rest a player and test out his team.
This is what has been said:
Not impressed to read that the All Blacks played with 14 men for the last 15 minutes Vs Tonga this weekend on purpose, to practise card situations.
Such disrespect to Tonga doing that IMO
— Callum (@ShutUpStott) September 8, 2019
All Blacks taking off 1 player when winning by 90+ points against a Tier 2 nation is plain disrespectful.
They played with 14 men for over 40 minutes against the Wallabies and got tonked.
Clearly any lessons should’ve been learned in that situation?
— Chris Oates (@ChrisOates147) September 7, 2019
Allblacks playing 14 men for the last 12 minutes and they don’t even have a yellow card or red card….the disrespect is real 😂 #NZLvTGA
— Eroni🇫🇯 (@eeeroni_) September 7, 2019
It was harsh. Especially when they removed a player and played with 14 men for the last 15 mins. That was disrespectful.
— Dr Chef Bobo (@KudzaiMtomba) September 7, 2019
@AllBlacks I find it disrespectful to the Tongan team to deliberately play with 14 men. They have their pride and it’s insulting to them. This isn’t a practice game to rehearse world cup tactics.
— Claire Hicks (@GypZy13) September 7, 2019
This is now disrespectful, the all blacks are purposely finishing the last 15mins with 14 men by doing a sub but not replacing the man 😂😂
— Ron🏃🏿♂️🏋🏿♂️ (@RonPipes) September 7, 2019
#AllBlacks 92-0 up with 15 minutes to go they take a player off and don’t risk bringing on a replacement deliberately finishing with 14 men.. either taking the piss or thorough training for being a man down in the World Cup. #RugbyWorldCup
— Michael Yeates (@YeatesMichael) September 7, 2019
That is so disrespectful, offensive, classless. NZ really not endearing themselves over the last few years. Perhaps if they didn’t pilfer Tonga’s playing stocks it would be a closer match as well
— Hugo Rawlinson (@hugo_rawlinson) September 7, 2019
Can’t see the problem – allowed Tonga to play – it’s only a warm up / practice match . – an opportunity for them to play yellow card situations – good planning . – it’s why they are favourites .
— Phil Gibson (@philgibson57) September 7, 2019
Genuinely love that. I’m sure some will say it’s a sign of disrespect to the opposition, but from a coach and preparation standpoint, that is taking it to new levels.
— RB (@NutsForSport30) September 7, 2019
Hansen’s decision may have been inspired by the events that unfolded during the Rugby Championship, namely the red card to Scott Barrett against Australia in Perth.
The All Blacks had to play the entirety of the second-half with 14 men, and ending up slumping to a record 47-26 loss to their rivals.
There is no better way to prepare for such a scenario in the World Cup than creating the same situation in the warm-up tests, and it could pay off in Japan.
By Josh Raisey, @RugbyPass