Is there a better way to deal with Scott Barrett's shoulder charge?

As the rugby world waits for news of the suspension handed down to All Blacks lock Scott Barrett, the New Zealander has found a somewhat unlikely ally on the other side of Tasman.

Wallabies great Daniel Herbert is one man who believes there are better ways to manage shoulder-charge or high-tackle scenarios like the one that saw Barrett dismissed just before halftime in the All Blacks' 47-26 loss in Bledisloe I.

While happy that under the current laws Barrett deserved to be sent-off by referee Jerome Garces, Herbert said there had to be a better way to manage similar situations that didn't take away from the focus to make rugby as safe a sport as possible.

"I hate to see a game brought down to where you are playing 15 against 14, and I think there's a way to achieve the safety standards that we need without having to reduce a team to 14 men," Herbert told ESPN.

"There are different ways that I think World Rugby can deal with that and certainly they've gone that way [zero tolerance] for a reason, and it is very important. I think we're going to see in [around] 15 years' time, you're going to start to see what's happened in America here in Australia - and you're already starting to see it with concussion injuries and so forth."

Barrett's dismissal has split opinions across the game and on social media with England coach Eddie Jones blasting the decision after his side's win over Wales. On the flip side, Barrett's All Blacks teammate Dale Coles on Monday told reporters "nothing against Barrett but he's got a little bit of a habit of using that shoulder."

Brumbies assistant and former Gloucester head coach Laurie Fisher posted an idea on Twitter that suggested Barrett could be sent off and have his night ended, but that he could also be replaced after 10 minutes in a sanction that almost combined both the red and yellow-card outcomes.

Herbert took a similar line, suggesting players could have tackles like Barrett's sanctioned more appropriately after the game and that the red-card was reserved for truly unacceptable on-field actions like punching, biting or eye-gouging.

"I think there's a way that sport can deal with that without having to take away from the game; it puts a player off the field," he said. "You don't have to reduce the seriousness of the incident, you can do that by having a report system and sanctioning players after the game.

"And you reserve a red card for foul play and atrocities where it was absolutely clear that the player was trying to injure that person, was going for their head and it was intentional."

In looking for an alternative solution, Herbert said that he was in favour of a player getting a yellow card at the time of the incident but that they were then later subjected to a greater suspension length - potentially in excess of 10 weeks if they were found to have intentionally tried to injure - once the judiciary hearing had returned a guilty verdict.

"Yep, I think that would be a better way to deal with it," he told ESPN. "But what the nuances of that are I don't know. I think there is a way you could deal with that -- and I'm not saying do away with the red-card completely -- but I think if someone goes out and eye-gouges or punches, then it's reserved for that.

"But I've certainly seen on social media there's divided opinion on it [Barrett's shoulder charge] and that it was not absolutely clear cut for some people, and whether or not there was actually intent there."

Whatever the case, Herbert said there was only ever going to be one result at Optus Stadium once Barrett was given his marching orders, just as there had been when Sonny Bill Williams was sent off, by the same referee, during the 2017 British & Irish Lions series.

And given it was a similarly fantastic occasion being played before a full stadium, the Barrett decision wasn't an ideal outcome for rugby's image in the era of sporting entertainment.

"It is [currently] a very black-and-white law that leads to a red card and I just thought that from that time on it took away from the spectacle, as it did with the British & Irish Lions against New Zealand two years ago," Herbert told ESPN.

"I thought as soon as that happened it had predetermined the outcome, I didn't think that Australia was going to lose that game the moment that red card happened and I don't think that's the best thing for fans or players or anyone else.

"I'd love to think that there is a better way they could still achieve the outcome [improved player safety] without having to reduce the spectacle to a predetermined outcome."