A fair process, a fair outcome and now it is time for the matter of whether the All Blacks are a dirty team to be laid to rest.

Justice has been served in the cases of Malakai Fekitoa and Sam Cane and now there really isn't any justification for anyone to harbour a sense of grievance. Now, there is not legitimate grounds to brand the All Blacks - or imply at least - that they rely a little too heavily on a bit of filth to bolster their position as the world's best.

Shutting up shop on the matter and moving on is important, not just for the sake of relations between New Zealand and Ireland, but for the good of the game.

The test in Dublin was epic. The intensity of commitment from both sides was phenomenal and the collisions were at a level that had most players still dragging limbs behind them on Monday morning.


Who didn't love the ferocity of the battle? Who didn't wince and jump at the impacts and feel the players emptying not just every last ounce of energy into the game, but their whole being?

That's what marked it as a brilliant game of rugby and to be gripped like that, to have a game that ebbs and flows like that, everyone has to accept there are going to be incidents that challenge the laws of the game.

The players move too fast, the power and agility of the athletes is incredible and the two things combined mean there were will be occasions when individuals get their timing and technique wrong.

And that's individuals from both teams. No question New Zealand pushed the limits harder, were guilty of more technical and timing mistakes, but the Ireland were not without sin.

The cameras have caught plenty of moments that don't look great for them but none could be considered outrageous or heinous.

That's the thing, though to be clear about: this wasn't a test marred by needless thuggery or stupid, crass, violent actions. No one eye-gouged. No one punched or kicked. No one grabbed anyone else's testicles, or head-butted an opponent or spat on them.

The clash points were all within the context of the game and directly linked to the passion and desire - not any premeditated desire to be malicious.

As a comparison, the second Bledisloe test this year was a far sorrier sight than the game in Dublin. The Wellington encounter just had spite, ill-feeling and verbal sledging and not so much of the genuine, ferocity conducted with integrity that was on view in Dublin.


This was not a dirty test. There was no niggle. There was no sense that either side was troubled by the way the other was conducting their business.

It was exceptionally hard but neither side wanted it any other way and there were no flare ups, no off the ball scuffles, no protestations to the referee.

The players came off bruised, sore, exhausted and full of respect for one another. There was no obvious anxiety that they had been part of a game that had fallen out of control, but for the sake of appearances more than anything else, a few incidents would have to be looked at.

Sam Cane's contact with Rob Henshaw had to be deliberated by an independent panel to be sure that it was an accidental clash of heads. When a player is stretchered off - it effectively makes an investigation compulsory.

It looked like an accident at the time and five hours of deliberation led the disciplinary committee in London to reach the same conclusion.

Fekitoa's tackle was reckless. He was scrambling to cover, came in too high because he perhaps felt Zebo was getting away when in fact he wasn't.

The disciplinary panel said it reached the threshold for a red card - but they had five hours and ample testimony to reach that decision. Referee Jaco Peyper had to make a call there and then and a red would have been harsh for a tackle that was clearly all about poor timing and technique.

A one week ban is fair and just - the system has done its job.