To the bewilderment of everyone, including his coach, Sonny Bill Williams conceded a comical yellow card when he batted the ball over the dead ball line during New Zealand's victory over France yesterday.
A perfectly-weighted cross-field kick towards Yoann Huget was met by Williams, only for the All Blacks centre to swat the ball out of play. The referee correctly sin-binned Williams for the act before awarding France a penalty try as well.
The All-Blacks still managed to go on to win 38-18 but the error - what the Kiwi commentators called a 'brain explosion' - is one of many for Williams who was notably sent-off in the second test against the Lions during the summer.
Williams is a former rugby league player and had he been playing in that code the act would have been totally legal. New Zealand coach Steve Hansen told Stuff.co.nz that Williams wasn't aware of the law.
He doesn't know the rules because he was playing league. In league you're allowed to smash it over the dead-ball line. It's a good lesson for Sonny and he knows next time to catch it, rather than bat it over the line.
I knew what Sonny did wasn't legal. You're not allowed to pat the ball over. A guy called John Kirwan did it in a Ranfurly Shield game years ago against Canterbury and got away with it. But we've moved on from that.
Hansen admitted to initially being irritated at the decision to award a penalty try until a conversation with his number two convinced him otherwise:
I was surprised until Fozzie [assistant coach Ian Foster] told me the rules. I didn't realise that, once he committed that foul play, he was then deemed to be invisible. If you commit foul play ingoal you're not there. Once I understood that, it was obviously going to be a penalty try because [Yoann Huget] might have caught it.
Hansen also spoke about the incident during his post-match press conference:
— Newshub Sport (@NewshubSport) November 12, 2017
New Zealand take on Scotland next Saturday, before completing their tour with a game against Wales.
You can read his comments in full here.