‘I have an issue’ – Ex-All Blacks get behind borderline Samipeni Finau hit as Trans-Tasman spat ensues

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Samipeni Finau making a tackle and Sir John Kirwan.

Split with Samipeni Finau making a tackle and Sir John Kirwan.

Another week goes by and there is another tackle controversy in Super Rugby Pacific, with Samipeni Finau of the Chiefs at the centre of it.

The robust flanker made a massive hit against the Waratahs that was shared by the tournament’s official account on X, leading to debate whether the tackle was legal or not.

Technique concerns?

It is not Finau’s first time in the spotlight for his tackle technique as The Roar journalist Christy Doran posted several hits from the All Black that he found questionable from this season.

The post led to frustration on Sky Sport NZ’s show The Breakdown, where former All Black Sir John Kirwan did not agree with the Australian journalist.

“I have an issue that we are talking about it,” Kirwan told The Breakdown.

“It’s ridiculous that we’re talking about it and it’s ridiculous that someone across the Tasman is moaning about it.

“If that was rugby league it’d be on the highlights and everyone would be going ‘how good is it?’

“We’ve been talking about trying to get a new Jerome Kaino since he retired and this guy is going out there trying to be physical.”

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“No issues”

Fellow former All Black Jeff Wilson weighed in on the situation, acknowledging that Finau is very close to tackling illegally but insists he has “no issues” with the flank so far. The ex-wing also insisted there would be fewer complaints if Australia had a physical player like Finau in their ranks.

“I think he’s running a risk if he gets it slightly wrong and he has to live with those consequences,” Wilson said.

“He knows this but if he gets it slightly wrong there will be consequences but I have no issues with what he’s doing right now.

“Yes he got penalised [against the Reds for being late] but ultimately the contact is legal and the technique is legal.

“If Australia had a big blindside flanker going out and doing this I don’t think we’d be hearing about this.”

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