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Are the All Blacks favoured by referees?

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All Black centre Isaia Toeava receives the yellow card from referee Craig Joubert,  despite the protest of Mils Muliaina. Photo / Mark Mitchell
All Black centre Isaia Toeava receives the yellow card from referee Craig Joubert, despite the protest of Mils Muliaina. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Statistics from the first five games of this year's Tri-Nations competition show a difference in the ratio of penalties per yellow card.

Suspicions are rife in South African rugby that the All Blacks get a special deal, are favoured whether subconsciously or consciously by referees.

South Africa are the most regularly penalised, conceding six penalties per yellow card. The Australians' figure is remarkably similar - just seven a card.

But by the same calculations, the New Zealand tally is incredible. Official figures show they incur 43 penalties a yellow card, more than seven times the figure of the Springboks.

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