All Blacks coach Ian Foster has admitted he was disappointed that his side did not handle the Wallabies’ provocations during their loss in Brisbane.
Just a week after beating the Wallabies by a record margin, the All Blacks slipped to a 24-22 loss in the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup Test match on Saturday.
Both sides had a player each red-carded and yellow-carded and there were times where tempers threatened to boil over.
All Blacks prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Wallabies debutant Lachie Swinton were shown red cards in the first half for similar dangerous tackles, but the telling blow for New Zealand came when they lost lock Scott Barrett to a yellow card in the final 12 minutes of the match.
Barrett was yellow-carded in the 68th minute for a cynical foul after the TMO spotted that he had slapped the ball out of Australian scrumhalf Nic White’s hands, just the Wallabies were attacking from a breakdown.
‘In the second half we weren’t as disciplined as we needed to be,’ Foster said on Sunday, after having time to review the incidents. ‘We were being pushed in the areas and provoked in the areas, and again that’s a tactic that teams use against us, and good on them.
‘We’ve got to be better than that and smarter than that.We gave away some kickable penalties. And then that yellow was sort of on top of that and probably just reflected a little bit of frustration when there didn’t need to be any frustration.’
Foster’s comments echoed the All Blacks’ reaction to their 16-16 draw with the Wallabies in the first Bledisloe Cup Test, after which the New Zealanders said that the referee did not do enough to punish off-the-ball hits inflicted by the Wallabies.
Following the Wallabies’ victory, a number of ex-players criticised the number of cards that were handed out in Brisbane, but Foster argued that clear boundaries still need to be set by the referee.
‘It was a game played on the edge. Everyone could see that. There was a lot of intention, a lot of physicality from both teams. Some of that bordered on margins that makes people open for punishment.
‘Quite frankly, that sort of reminded us a little bit of the first Test in Wellington. That’s why, when people start talking about “You don’t need cards” and all that. I get that argument to one extent.
‘The flipside of it is it’s a very physical game, and if we don’t have clear boundaries, it becomes really hard for everyone to play the skilful game they need to.’
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