All Blacks loosie's tour in jeopardy

LIAM NAPIER IN EDINBRUGH
Last updated 09:34 12/11/2012
All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson sits in the sin bin after being yellowed carded for rucking the head of a Scottish forward.
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GLUM CHUM: All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson sits in the sin bin after being yellow carded for rucking the head of a Scottish forward.

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Adam Thomson's "reckless" act has placed his European tour in jeopardy after the All Blacks 51-22 victory in Edinburgh today.

Thomson will rue his second-half rush of blood that saw him ruck opposing blindside flanker Alasdair Strokosch's head.

Any contact with the head is treated seriously by disciplinary observers. Australian flanker Scott Higginbotham was given a four-week, two-game ban for his knee to the head of All Blacks' captain Richie McCaw in Brisbane.

Thomson was yellow carded by French referee Jerome Garces, but at minimum he could be looking at a two-week ban and that scenario would almost end his four-week tour.

With Victor Vito making a strong claim from No. 8 against the Scots today and Liam Messam having a breakout season at No.6 it will be hard for Thomson to play again this year if he is suspended.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson revealed an official told him after the match the incident would be referred to the citing officer.

"The citing officer came to us and said he'll deal with it," said Robinson, who was then asked if Thomson deserved a red card.

"You would think so. The touch judge had a very good view of it."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen acknowledged Thomson was out of line, but made it clear there was not enough force used to suggest it was malicious stomping.

"It looked like he got frustrated because someone was lying all over the ball and he placed his foot on the guy's head," Hansen said.

"He didn't stomp him, which was one good thing. The rules say you can't do that so I'm sure someone will be looking at it.  

"Someone will look at the game and they'll make a decision if what he did was with malicious intent or was it reckless. I'd suggest probably reckless. From there it will take its course.

"It's pointless me sitting here talking about it because it's no longer up to us. Personally I don't think it was a stomping but that's not for me to decide."

Thomson's future is up in the air with a move to Japan expected. There is uncertainty whether he will make a late play to link with the Highlanders or Blues next season, but this would be a demoralising way to end his All Blacks career.

There was also concern for Israel Dagg post-match.

The star fullback had a nasty fall after contesting a high ball and left the field after 24 minutes at Murrayfield.

Taranaki and Hurricanes first five-eighths Beauden Barrett came on and did not put a foot wrong but Hansen will be hoping his first-choice fullback can recover.

"We don't know completely how bad it is, but he fell from a great height and landed on his buttocks as Mr Gump would say," Hansen said.

"He's sore. How long it will take we'll have to see."

McCaw admitted it was frustrating not to put Scotland away after scoring three slick tries in quick succession to Julian Savea, Cory Jane and Andrew Hore to establish a commanding 34-10 lead.

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But, just before half-time, the All Blacks botched a kick-off reception and Scotland prop Geoff Cross barged over to give the locals hope.

Straight after the break they struck again through wing Tim Visser, who collected a double, after Thomson was binned.

“We made a few mistakes and we were under pressure and down to 14 men, so it’s perhaps not being smart enough in that part of the game,” he said.

“When we got a few points up it would have been easy to have got away really, but the Scots hung in there and scored before halftime and got themselves back in the game.

“It was probably a different score, but certainly a more physical game than the last time we were here.”

- Stuff

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