What did the officials say?
On the field, Barnes acknowledged that Cane was upright and made contact with the head and that there was foul play, with direct head contact meaning a yellow card.
After the check, Barnes called over the new captain, Ardie Savea, to inform him that the yellow card had been upgraded, noting that there was a high degree of danger and no mitigation.
What did the pundits say?
Sam Warburton, the former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain, said at the time Cane was shown yellow that he would be nervous if he were Cane, noting that regardless of Kriel’s body position, Cane had not bent into the tackle.
After the bunker decision, Warburton added that because Cane was so upright, he was not painting a good picture and had made it tough for the referee to show any leniency.
At half-time in the ITV studio, former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick acknowledged that the incident was a red card. “I feel very sorry for him, but when you look at it like that in real time it’s a red card unfortunately,” Fitzpatrick said.
Former Ireland and Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll added that the officials came to the right decision, given that the officials were looking for a hinge at the hips and the contact was chest-on-chest, saying that Cane could have no complaints given he had a clear line of sight. O’Driscoll described it as a very clear red card.
Was the correct decision made?
Yes. Given the lack of mitigation, Cane had to be sent off.