All Blacks fans have reacted angrily to the yellow cards shown to props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi in their 71-9 World Cup Pool B thrashing of Namibia in Tokyo.

The victory all but ensured the All Blacks will advance to the quarterfinals, with their only remaining pool match against Italy on Saturday.

The only blemishes in the 11-try romp were the sin-binning of Laulala and Tuungafasi for identical hits on Namibian players either side of halftime.

Premium - Liam Napier: How Argentina became the flop of the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Premium - 2019 Rugby World Cup: Liam Napier - Whinging coaches are a poor look for rugby
Premium - Liam Napier: The best player not attending this Rugby World Cup is...
Premium - 2019 Rugby World Cup: Liam Napier - All Blacks and Ireland most impressive after opening salvos


Laulala's swinging arm connected with the head of winger Lesley Kim in the 31st minute, while Darryl de la Harpe was on the receiving end of Tuungafasi's hit with less than 10 minutes left to play.

Nepo Laulala shown an yellow card by referee Pascal Gaureze. Photo / Getty
Nepo Laulala shown an yellow card by referee Pascal Gaureze. Photo / Getty

Both tackled players were on their way to the ground when contact occurred, saving the All Black stars from more severe punishment.

Premium gold

However, the calls left All Black fans divided as many took to social media in frustration.

2019 Rugby World Cup: Canadians humbled by All Blacks' hospitality
2019 Rugby World Cup: Wallabies streaker commits cultural blunder
2019 Rugby World Cup power rankings: Week two's movers and shakers
Rugby World Cup 2019 all you need to know: Squads, fixtures, times

"Another 2 joke yellow cards. And I have no sympathy for New Zealand. How are you supposed to avoid a tackle to the head when the other player is falling so low to ground? Refereeing is a complete joke this WC," one fan wrote on Twitter, while another argued, "not a straight red wtf. Lucky to be a yellow".

"That is a shocking yellow card," wrote another.

The All Blacks would have had their hearts in their mouths as French referee Pascal Gauzere went to the TMO, following weeks of controversial refereeing decisions and a record-equalling five red cards being flashed – with more than 20 games remaining in the tournament.

Argentina lock Tomas Lavinini was shown a red card by referee Nigel Owens on Saturday night for his 17th-minute high tackle on England captain Owen Farrell.


Lavinini's red card came hours after Australia forwards Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto were yellow carded for high tackles during their 45-10 win over Uruguay in Oita.

The 2019 tournament is now tied for the most red cards shown in World Cup history.