Sivivatu and Woodcock banned
November 1, 2009
Sitiveni Sivivatu was sin-binned in Tokyo © Getty Images
The All Blacks will face Wales at the Millennium Stadium next weekend shorn of two of their most experienced campaigners. Wing Sitiveni Sivivatu and prop Tony Woodcock were handed one match bans by SANZAR for foul play in their 32-19 Bledisloe Cup victory over Australia in Tokyo.
Another worry as the All Blacks travel to Europe is the fitness of start fly-half Dan Carter. Carter slotted 22 points in the game and played 78 minutes but limped from the field and is struggling with a haematoma on a calf muscle. The Canterbury fly-half is confident of recovering his fitness by next weekend but will have a slow re-introduction to training this week.
Sivivatu was yellow-carded for a dangerous lunge at an airborne Adam Ashley-Cooper and subsequently cited while Woodcock was punished for striking in an incident late on, which left Australian flanker George Smith bloodied.
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen represented the players and accepted the judgement of SANZAR disciplinary officer Peter Hobbs.
"We got a very fair hearing and we just have to accept the two penalties and move on. We certainly can't complain about the hearing," said Hansen. "It's a bit tough saying it was ill-discipline.
"In Siti's case it was just poor timing. Ashley-Cooper is very good in the air and he jumped up and forward, and Siti mucked it up from a timing point of view. I don't think there was any intent.
"Woody's just reacted to being cleaned out off the ball. He had his back to him and Smith's just cleaned him out. I guess 99% of the population would react in the same way. It's cost him a week and he'll have to learn to react a different way next time."
Zac Guildford and Wyatt Crockett are in line to profit from the bans, with Guildford an unused replacement in Tokyo.
"I was very impressed with Zac all week. He trained like a guy that's been here forever," Hansen said. "The guys on the bench said he was jumping out of his skin to get on. He's a pretty calm and cool kid so there's a big possibility he could play. (Woodcock) is a big loss but Wyatt's been with us all season as well and trained really well all year. He probably deserves a crack anyway so it's a great opportunity for him to come out and show us what he's made of."
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September