It has been a day of barely-believable rugby news. And we are not talking about the All Blacks losing a Test match on home soil. Sonny Bill Williams was given his marching orders by French ref Jerome Garces. The red card had a major bearing on the outcome of seconds Lions Test, but it also means one of the longest and strangest disciplinary streaks in world sport is no more.
Williams, you see, is the first All Black to see a straight red card in a test match in fifty years. All Blacks legend Colin Meads was sent off in a 1967 game against Scotland in Murrayfield, and incredibly no New Zealand had seen red until this morning.
Think of all the matches the All Blacks have played in the last 50 years. Remarkably only three players have been sent off in All Blacks history.
While it's true the red card isn't often flashed at Test level, it's still incredible to consider that a team who plays with the ferocity of the All Blacks has avoided red cards for this long.
This stat amazed many Irish fans after witnessing the All Blacks attempting multiple decapitations on the Ireland team in the Aviva last November. There is a strong feeling amongst Northern hemisphere rugby fans that referees show the All Blacks undue respect because of their standing in the game and Gatland's gambit in focusing the media conversation after the first Test on the repeated targeting of Conor Murray may have got the attention of Garces and co.
And perhaps the most joyfully ironic aspect of the whole Williams incident is that linesman Jaco Peyper - who refereed last week's match and the game against Ireland in November - considered the incident worthy of just a yellow card.
Peyper: "I think Watson has headbutted Sonny's shoulder there. Yellow card for Watson" #NZLvBIL
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) July 1, 2017
Peyper did his best for SBW. A true 🥝
— Gavin Cummiskey (@Cumoski) July 1, 2017
Regardless, Colin Meads can rest easier now, as he no longer has to carry the burden of being the last All Black to be sent off.