How Blues skipper Papali'i trimmed a week off his suspension

Thu, Jun 1
Dalton Papali'i is back this weekend for the Blues.

Dalton Papali’i has trimmed a week off his three-match suspension by undergoing a World Rugby ‘coaching intervention’ and is now available to play for the Blues against the Highlanders at Eden Park tomorrow night.

In fact, the Blues captain did such a good job of making his required video presentation after his high tackle on Crusaders No.10 Richie Mo’unga that World Rugby has described it as a gold standard and vowed to use it to educate others.

“Part of World Rugby’s [process] is he can go through a coaching intervention and if he nails that part then you get a reduction,” said assistant coach Craig McGrath.

“Dalton did a great job, so much so that World Rugby want to use some of the stuff he did as a tool for other coaching interventions.

“Dalton owned it. It was a good exercise for us all around skill development, and a good exercise for Dalton too. He did well.”

Papali’i will start at No.8 against the Highlanders tomorrow night as the Blues seek to hang on to third place on the Super Rugby Pacific table against a side with a tenuous grip on eighth place.

“I know what I did wrong and shoulder to the head any day of the week is going to be yellow going into red,” Papaili’i said.

Richie Mo'unga receives treatment during the Crusaders' win over the Blues.

“Reviewing the clip again, I deserved the red. I think going through the process makes you realise what damage you can do. World Rugby said I have learned my lesson – I’ve got to drop my body height.

“It’s a contact sport and it’s going to happen. But I had to learn from it and hopefully I’ve set an example that when you’re coming back you’ve got to know what you’ve done wrong and how you can get better from it.

“It’s one of those things – heat of the moment. I know Richie, he’s a good mate of mine. I flicked him a message after, but it’s all said and done now, and I’m just happy to be back.”

Papali’i is in a loose forward trio with Tom Robinson and Anton Segner.

Beauden Barrett was not considered for No.10 due to his cut heel but should be fit for the following weekend’s quarter-final. Harry Plummer will again start at first-five.


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