There weren't too many problems from the All Blacks' impressive 23-13 opening Rugby World Cup victory over South Africa, but one decision left All Blacks management baffled.

The verdict to not allow Sam Cane back onto the field after passing a concussion test rankled some of the All Blacks' staff, causing sideline arguments between management and the officials over whether Cane should be allowed back onto the park.

Cane was hit hard when attempting a tackle in the first half, and eventually went down the tunnel for a head injury assessment. He passed, and attempted to return after the break, but was stopped by the officials, who had judged that he had spent too much time off the park, and wasn't allowed to rejoin the field.

The standard period of time for a player to pass a concussion test and return to the field of play is 10 minutes spent in the HIA room.


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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen explained what happened after the match, and said that he had already had a discussion with the relevant parties to ensure a similar scenario doesn't present itself in future matches.

"The on-ground official felt he'd overdone his time for his [concussion] test," Hansen said.

"He passed the test, he was good as gold. We've since had a chat to the match commissioner and they're going to have a yarn about it and hopefully rectify the situation for future games."

Sam Cane and All Blacks management were involved in an argument over his concussion test. Photo / Getty
Sam Cane and All Blacks management were involved in an argument over his concussion test. Photo / Getty

Cane was replaced by Patrick Tuipulotu, with Scott Barrett moving to No 6 and Ardie Savea switching to No 7.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster had said Cane was "fine" in an interview at halftime, and there appeared to be no serious injuries for the two-time defending champions, ahead of a 10 day break before a clash with Canada in Oita.

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Beauden Barrett, who was adjudged the man of the match, received an accidental boot to the nose from No 8 Duane Vermeulen in the second half, an injury which initially looked worse than it was and may have worried Hansen and more than a few All Blacks supporters.


Barrett said: "It's a bit sore. It's never nice to get one on the nose, especially from a big bloke like Duane. But you expect to get a few bumps when you play the Springboks. It was certainly worth it."

"We'll use the next few days wisely and get back into work," Hansen added.

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