One of the big talking points from the first Ireland v New Zealand Test tonight at Eden Park was how English referee Karl Dickson refereed the breakdown and the scrum.
In a trend Ireland fans will remember from so many times playing and losing to New Zealand over the years, the referee seemed happy to overlook what looked like – with our admittedly green-tinted viewing goggles – as infractions at the scrum and the breakdown.
Throughout the match, Ireland’s best player on the night Peter O’Mahony could be heard on the ref mic pleading with Dickson to be more vigilant in his refereeing of New Zealand.
One incident from the second half was widely shared on social media this morning.
With Ireland in possession deep in the All Blacks half, Kiwi backrow Scott Barrett clearly slams his shoulder near the head of Peter O’Mahony as the stand-in Ireland captain attempted to advance the ball. Barrett does not use his arms for the tackle. O’Mahony’s neck buckles under the weight of the tackle.
It looked dangerous, but Dickson didn’t blow his whistle. He couldn’t have had a better perspective on the incident.
This slo-mo version shows just how dangerous the tackle was.
Scott Barrett Tackle on Peter O’Mahony causes controversies
Had niggling doubt about the SA TMO interpretations earlier. But not even calling attention of Ref to Barret no arms shoulder on O’Mahony?
— Sea__Point 🇺🇦 (@Sea__Point) July 2, 2022
The incident was not flagged by the touch judges or the TMO. However, many on social media are calling for Scott Barrett to be cited for the tackle.
— Edward Jenkins (@edjenx) July 2, 2022
Penalized for no arms clear out, referee said he thought it to the body pic.twitter.com/78KpKFByJE
— Ben Kay (@BenKay5) July 2, 2022
The tackle was somewhat reminiscent of the red card that Scott Barrett received for New Zealand against the Wallabies in 2019.
It wasn’t just this incident that had on-lookers critical of Dickson’s refereeing.
If I were showing an example of a seatbelt tackle that on Carberry would be it.
You can’t tackle above the line of the shoulders…the only thing above where he tackled is air….
Karl Dickson is a good example of confident and often wrong
— Sam Larner (@SamLStandsUp) July 2, 2022
NZ are playing Karl Dickson better than Nicola Benedetti has ever played a Stradivarius.
— Leinster PAGuy (@LeinsterPAGuy) July 2, 2022
O’Mahony chose to keep his counsel when speaking to Sky’s post-match reporter about the scrum.
“Yeah the set piece was tough. I think if you’re going to argue the toss then the All Blacks got the upper hand. They stole a couple of our lineout balls. Scrum was a great battle as well. But look three Test. ..we spoke about it before and it’s just a great honor to be here. Plenty to work on from our side.”
Interestingly, it was Scott Barrett’s first time starting at six. Ian Foster explained why he was selected there before the game.
“[It’s the] first time he’s started for us there, but he’s filled in a couple of times there.”
“He’s also played for the Crusaders there. We know that he can do it.
“He’s one of the form players in Super Rugby in the last four to six weeks. He’s on top of his game.”
It will be interesting to see how World Rugby views this tackle. The court of opinion on social media has already ruled against Scott Barrett.