The All Blacks believe there are sufficient mitigating circumstances to prevent Jordie Barrett copping further sanction after his contentious red card incident against the Wallabies in Perth.
Sanzaar's foul play review committee will meet on Monday evening to determine whether Barrett will front a judicial hearing later this week after Australian referee Damon Murphy issued the All Blacks fullback with a red card for raising his foot while catching a high ball and collecting Wallabies wing Marika Koroibete in the face.
In blinding afternoon sun, Barrett's eyes were on the ball the whole time and while off balance in the air raising his leg appeared a reflex action, but the arbitrary nature of the rules does not allow for intent to be taken into account.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster said he was "pretty surprised" Barrett was red carded after the 38-21 win and indicated the team would challenge any potential suspension.
"We'll go and have a good look at it, but we'll certainly be putting a case together for that one," Foster said. "He lost balance, you could see he tilted and what happened. I feel for the refs in situations like this because technically they saw things and they make their decisions so I get all that. Now we've got a chance to sit down and analyse it we'll have a good couple of conversations."
All Blacks defence coach Scott McLeod echoed Foster's comments on Monday, elaborating somewhat on the potential defence by outing the fact Koroibete encroached into Barrett's landing space before he hit the ground.
"We believe we do have a defence. There's some mitigating circumstances from our side so we'll put forward a case," McLeod said. "He won the space in the air so in previous cases the person who has done that everyone else has to look after that person underneath or be aware of that. That would be one. I'm not on that committee and I'm not presenting the case but in my opinion that's what I reckon."
In this instance a common-sense outcome would be a warning, particularly given Koroibete was uninjured in the incident and Barrett has a previously clean judicial record, but the All Blacks are preparing their case with the expectation a hearing will be required.
In more positive news newly-appointed captain Ardie Savea and Codie Taylor are recovering well after both leaving the field in the first half with head knocks. With a six-day turnaround before the first of two tests against the Pumas there is, however, no guarantees the experienced forwards will be passed fit to play this Sunday.
"The two biggest concerns from yesterday were Codie and Ardie and they've both woken up feeling well and symptom free," McLeod said. "They'll go through our process this week and see how they travel each day and we'll make a decision on that."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission