NEW ZEALAND captain Sam Cane has been sent off in the Rugby World Cup final.
The flanker was given his marching orders for a high tackle on South Africa’s Jesse Kriel.
Cane was initially given a yellow card but following a review his punishment was upgraded to a red.
It is the first time a player has been sent off in a Rugby World Cup final.
The All Blacks had risked a red card just two minutes into the game after back row Shannon Frizell was deemed to have committed dangerous play by landing on Bongi Mbonambi’s leg.
He was sent to the sin bin and defending champions South Africa made the extra man advantage count as they raced into a 6-0 lead.
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Excellent kicking from Handre Pollard had the Springboks 9-3 up at the time of the incident, with the fly-half adding another three points while Cane awaited his fate.
But it was New Zealand who responded best after Cane was shown red as Mark Telea almost scored the first try of the match.
The Kiwis settled for three points after winning a penalty shortly after, but fans felt Cane should not have received a red card.
One viewer said: “If you wanted to ruin a great game with some terrible rule changes… Rugby Union is dead.”
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Another added: “Well done (referee) Wayne Barnes…ruined the biggest game of rugby. Brilliant.”
However Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll, featuring as a pundit on ITV’s coverage of the final, felt Cane had to walk.
He said of the tackle: “That is considerable force to the head and for me that is a very clear red card.”
South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi also received a yellow card for a high tackle after the break and was fortunate to escape a harsher punishment.