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An afternoon of free-scoring high numbers for the All Blacks against Tonga in Hamilton has finished with the most significant for them as they prepare to board a plane for the Rugby World Cup in Japan: zero obvious injuries.
That by itself will allow coach Steve Hansen to rest a lot easier over the next couple of nights before Monday’s flight because, with five players missing this warm-up match against Tonga due to niggling injuries, another more serious one to any of his match-day 23 would have been distressing for all concerned.
Just as important was the conclusion to an incident in the final minutes in which replacement fullback Jordie Barrett collided with Tongan outside back James Faiva when contesting a high ball, an act which sent Faiva tumbling forwards to land on his upper back.
It was a potential act of foul play checked by referee Angus Gardner and his assistants, but fortunately for Barrett, the officials decided he had collided with teammate Sevu Reece after being in a position to compete for the ball. It was accidental, in other words, and no foul play.
Another red card for a Barrett after Scott’s indiscretion in Perth would have sent Hansen and company into a royal funk.
As it was, it will be Tonga who will have the most to mull over foll
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