The All Blacks were deprived of one of their best players against Ireland, a breach of protocol

The All Blacks were deprived of one of their best players against Ireland, a breach of protocol

Starting for New Zealand since the start of the World Cup, winger Mark Tilia was ruled out for disciplinary reasons from the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland. He allegedly violated the team's curfew.

It should have been the most important match of his young career. Impressive since the start of the World Cup and the author of three tries for New Zealand so far, Mark Tilia was finally denied a quarter-final against Ireland on Saturday. The winger was punished by his staff, who did not want to provide further details, for not respecting the disciplinary rules imposed on all players.

“He broke protocol, he told his coach Ian Foster on Thursday. Nothing major but enough to leave him off the scoresheet this week. We still like him, he's trained well, but it is what it is. I don't want to talk.” “We dealt with it as a team and moved forward.” According to New Zealand media, Tilia exceeded the evening curfew imposed on players by several hours.

Not a first for blacks

To hear the All Blacks' thoughts, the decision to sideline one of their strongmen for the game didn't just depend on him. But the selection was always very strict with the “protocol” being applied for a long time and the slightest mistake could cost a lot. Other players have learned this the hard way in the past, such as Israel Dagg and Corey Jane, who were punished after being caught in the middle of a drunken evening just days before the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals.

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The situation of Telia, whose crime was likely less serious, is now more controversial in the country. Especially since it could prove costly for the All Blacks, who did not start in the quarter-final against Ireland, currently ranked number one in the world. In this complex context, future RC Toulon player Leicester Vainga'anuku will bear the heavy responsibility of occupying the right wing instead of the punisher, as he already did during a great victory over Uruguay (73-0).

Corentin Barboud Journalist RMC Sport

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