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Sonny Bill Williams receives straight red card for reckless challenge in second Test

It’s the first red card New Zealand have received in a Test since 1967.

AFTER A THUNDEROUS opening 20 minutes in swirling conditions at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, the imperious All Blacks were reduced to 14 men for the remainder after a dangerous no-arms challenge by inside back Sonny Bill Williams.

Having seen all angles of the incident, and despite being asked the oft-maligned question, ‘Would you like to take another look’, by Aussie TMO George Ayoub, referee Jerome Garces’ opinion on the incident was concrete: “I have to protect the player,” he told Kiwi captain Kieran Read, before flashing red in the direction of a protesting Williams.

It’s New Zealand’s first red card in a Test match since Colin ‘Pine-Tree’ Meads received his marching orders on 2 December 1967 for kicking Scotland’s David Chisholm as he lay on the ground in Murrayfield. Meads was later voted New Zealand’s Player of the Century.

Williams, for all his other-wordly qualities, might not be remembered so fondly if his absence allows the Lions back into this Test series.

At half-time in Wellington, the 14-men All Blacks are level with the Lions at 9 apiece.

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