SYDNEY – Lock Scott Barrett could miss the start of the World Cup after becoming only the fourth New Zealand international to be sent off during a test match in the 47-26 Rugby Championship loss to Australia in Perth on Saturday.
French referee Jerome Garces adjudged that Barrett had committed a dangerous tackle when he made contact with the head of Australia captain Michael Hooper with a no-arm tackle at a ruck just before half time in Perth.
The offence usually carries a six-week ban and Barrett will definitely miss the second Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies in Auckland next week, which the All Blacks must win to retain the trophy they have held since 2003.
It could also put him in doubt for New Zealand's World Cup opener against South Africa in Yokohama on Sept 21, another big blow after his fellow lock Brodie Retallick dislocated his shoulder in the 16-16 draw with the Springboks last week.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the dismissal had been costly even if he was more concerned about how many tackles his side had missed.