There haven't been many in the Steve Hansen era but the All Blacks produced a flush the dunny performance in Wellington that didn't have many redeeming features.

Debate will rage no doubt for the next few days about the red card to French fullback Benjamin Fall and whether it should have been shown or not.

The sticklers and pedants with no soul and no feel for the game will say it was a clear cut case as the letter of the law is unambiguous.

But those with some empathy and understanding of the spirit of the game will say nonsense – the collision was passive and accidental and partly attributable to the fact Fall was nudged off balance as Beauden Barrett jumped.

The red card incident. Photo / Getty
The red card incident. Photo / Getty

And then maybe it should be mentioned that if the red was shown on the basis of the outcome – that is the way Barrett landed – then why wasn't Ofa Tuungafasi sent off last week when his shoulder fractured the skull of Remy Grosso?

Those who defended Tuungafasi last week can't now say Fall was treated fairly.

"The red card always has an effect and it is always a shame when someone is red carded particularly for an offence that is not really intentional," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

"It is a challenge and he got it wrong. The referee had to red card because that is what the rules say.

"Personally I would like a card that is not out and out deliberate foul play - to be yellow on report for red and allow people to stay on the park.

"We talk about the game being fluid and dynamic. He came into catch the ball and Beaudy jumped higher and so contributed to it. I don't think there was any intention for him to hurt Beauden Barrett and when there is no intention it becomes a grey area and we are trying to treat them as black and white and the game is not black and white."

All the shemozzle around the red card, though, shouldn't obscure the fact that that the All Blacks had an ordinary night.

They pieced together a couple of decent tries to ensure they actually won, but there was nothing compelling about their performance.


It was mostly inaccurate and loose. It was disjointed and random and clear that the biggest effect of the red card was to alter the mindset of the All Blacks.

It looked like once they knew they were a man up, the All Blacks considered the game was already won.

They certainly didn't do the hard work and graft the victory. They were slow to the breakdown. They were inaccurate when they got there, lost the ball too often, threw poor passes and Hansen felt all of these issues were related to a poor mental approach.

"We didn't manage the game well from that point on [the red card]," said Hansen. "In sport one of the hardest things to do is to back up a dominant scoreline with another dominant performance so mentally our preparation may not have been as good as we would have like it to have been.

"Losing Beauden - to lose your main driver has an effect - not bagging Damian – he is a learning first-five whereas the other one is the best in the world."

Picking the positives was a hard job and maybe the biggest, or only one, was the victory which has opened the door to the coaches potentially making a few changes for the third test.

Hansen said that with the series now won, the risk reward equation is tilted in favour of trying a few things in Dunedin and it may be the All Blacks take the opportunity to see who from the fringes of their group is actually up to test football.