The Springboks prevailed 18-3 but could have been down to 14 men after two minutes

You could have been forgiven for having deja vu. Two minutes in to a huge pool clash at the Stade Velodrome and there is a massive clash of heads. But while Tom Curry saw red for England against Argentina on Saturday night, South Africa centre Jesse Kriel’s collision with Scotland No 8 Jack Dempsey was not even reviewed on field in Marseille, to the ire of those in tartan.

TV replays showed a clear head-on-head contact and with Kriel upright and seemingly with a clear line of sight of his opponent, whose head bounced back in the collision, he would have been sweating on a potential sanction.

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Kriel red card: Yes or no?

Yet despite both captain Jamie Ritchie and fly-half Finn Russell approaching referee Angus Gardener there was no intervention either from the Australian or his TMO Ben Whitehouse, something former Scotland captain John Barclay described as “bizarre” after the game, which finished 18-3 to the Springboks, on ITV.

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At half-time in the clash, when the game was still well poised at 6-3, Barclay let rip at the failure to review Kriel’s tackle. He said: “The confusion is you hear captains speak to the referees and they say, ‘We are always looking’. You are two minutes into the game and we’ve got an incident that is a red card. It’s a red card.

“He comes from a distance, clear line of sight, no drop in height and he applies force. It’s head on head. That’s a red card. The way the game is refereed now, whether you like it or not, that is a red card. And we saw a very similar incident last night (with Tom Curry) which was given as a yellow then upgraded in the bunker to a red.

“This is where the game gets a bit messy as in these instances where they look very similar, yeah from slightly different positions from a kick or whatever, but that’s a red card. And the fact that has not even been seen or reviewed is inexcusable.”

Should it have been a Kriel red card? Let us know at or on social media.

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