IRB Sevens World Series

Friend frustrated as New Zealand appear to field eight in Sydney Sevens

Australia coach Andy Friend insists action must be taken to ensure there is no repeat of an embarrassing controversy at the Sydney Sevens that saw New Zealand apparently field an extra man in the closing stages of a pool game.

Video footage appeared to show eight All Blacks on the pitch prior to Ardie Savea scoring a try that earned a 17-17 draw with Australia in Pool A.

A World Rugby investigation into the issue is under way, but the result of the game - and New Zealand's subsequent success in a final rematch with Australia on Sunday - will stand.

Friend felt the incident was accidental, but expressed concern given that rugby sevens' Olympic debut is just six months away.

"The question is how can that happen? In an Olympic year, if that comes down to a gold medal game, you'd have disappointed people," Friend is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

"What we have to make sure is that simple mistakes don't happen in big tournaments and this is a big tournament.

"It's a bizarre one. Our situation was probably magnified because it was the final try that got the draw. I don't think anyone intentionally does that, I will say that.

"But whose error is it? Is it a sideline official error or a team's error. That needs to be a discussion. They need to tidy that area up."

A statement from rugby's governing body confirmed disciplinary action may yet be taken against New Zealand.

It read: "World Rugby can confirm that it is investigating an apparent breach of Law 3 (number of players on the field of play) by the New Zealand sevens team.

"The alleged incident occurred during the second half of New Zealand's Pool A match against Australia on 6 February.

"In accordance with Law 3.2 the result of the match will stand, but World Rugby is currently reviewing the matter to determine if any disciplinary action is warranted.

"No further comment will be made until the outcome of the investigation."