Blues players Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Kurt Eklund cited for foul play

Blues prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi and hooker Kurt Eklund have been cited for foul play in the aftermath of their team’s 43-27 defeat to the Crusaders at Eden Park on Sunday.

Tu’ungafasi was yellow carded by referee Paul Williams for slamming his shoulder into Scott Barrett’s chin late in the match, however, the citing commissioner has deemed it met the red card threshold for foul play.

Williams let Eklund off the hook with a penalty for lifting Crusaders wing Sevu Reece and flipping him on to the turf, but Eklund’s wrestling-style move has also been deemed to have met the red card threshold.

In a Sanzaar press release, Tu’ungafasi is alleged to have contravened Law 9.12 Striking with shoulder, while Eklund is alleged to have contravened Law 9.18, which states a player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground.

Both players face judicial hearings on Monday night (7pm), and face the prospect of missing Saturday night’s game against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Tu’ungafasi became the fifth All Black to be sent off in a test match last November, when he blasted Wallabies wing Tom Wright with his shoulder in the Bledisloe Cup test in Brisbane.

Given his record, he could find himself suspended for multiple weeks.

The citing of both him and Eklund puts the spotlight back on Williams, who made a couple of blunders as TMO the previous weekend.

Williams initially didn't even want to penalise Eklund for his foul play, dismissing Crusader captain Barrett’s appeal.

However, TMO Brendon Pickerill got in his ear and it was given a second look. Still, they came to the conclusion it only warranted a penalty.

Williams and Pickerill settled on a yellow for Tu’ungafasi because they deemed it was only a “glancing” blow.