A controversial red card to French fullback Benjamin Fall in the 12th minute of the test in Wellington has put the All Blacks in a terrific position to go up 2-0 in the three-test series.
Fall collided with All Blacks first five-eighth Beauden Barrett as he jumped to take a high ball, and in doing so earned the wrath of referee Angus Gardner at the Cake Tin.
The incident was nasty. Barrett fell on his head and was immediately taken off the field to be assessed. He failed a head injury assessment and was replaced by Damian McKenzie.
Gardner didn’t rush into the decision. He consulted at length with television match official George Ayoub and felt he had no option but to tell Fall he would be sent from the field.
But many fans took to social media to lament the game was now over as contest and TV commentator John Kirwan, a former All Blacks wing, blasted Gardner for ruining the game for the fans and the French.
The All Blacks, who led 21-6 at halftime, were hardly convincing for long passages of the first spell but against 14 Frenchmen they found plenty of holes in the defence and rattled on three tries.
The incident involving Fall is surely to create plenty of discussion among those critics who believe the All Blacks get too many calls that go their way.