Hurricanes captain TJ Perenara feels Tyrel Lomax was wrongly given a red card after an ill-disciplined performance plagued their 24-15 loss to the Blues at Sky Stadium on Saturday.
Lomax was sent off by referee Mike Fraser for a shoulder to Stephen Perofeta's head seven minutes into the second half.
But things got worse for the Hurricanes when Vaea Fifita was sin-binned in the 68th minute for a no-arms tackle, then Jordie Barrett saw yellow late-on for an intentional knock-on, leaving them with 12 players on the field.
Lomax's sending off was a game-changing moment. At the time the Hurricanes led 8-7, but the Blues soon took control while Perenara's side conceded a plethora of penalties, finishing the match with 14 in total.
Perenara admits his side's discipline was poor, but felt Lomax should have been given a yellow card for his high shot.
"My personal opinion is, I don't think it's a red card," said Perenara. "I heard the conversation was that [Lomax's] arm was tucked… I disagree with that.
"But contact on the head, you're going to be in trouble anyway. That makes it difficult, you put yourself in a tough situation and put a shoulder on someone's head, the ref has to make a decision.
"It's no knock on the decision itself. We put a shoulder on the head in a big game and we forced the referee to make the decision.
"Whether it's yellow, red or whatever, we put ourselves in that position."
The win saw the Blues snap their five-year losing streak against the Hurricanes while ending a 25-game losing road record against New Zealand opposition which stretched back to 2013.
Hurricanes coach Jason Holland felt if his side had 15 players on the field for the entire game, they would have won.
"Whether it is [red] or not, it's a tackle technique thing that we have to fix," Holland said.
"The red and the yellow, Vaea and Loey, are both things we need to get out of our game. We're just not smart enough around the tackle technique.
"The reality is, if we played 15 on 15 I think we win the game."
The Hurricanes face the Chiefs in Hamilton in their next Super Rugby match.
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