All Blacks coach Ian Foster has questioned some of the feedback related to ‘niggly play and cheap shots’ in the wake of New Zealand’s loss to Argentina a fortnight ago.
The match between the All Blacks and Los Pumas two weeks ago was marred by ill-discipline. There were several off the ball scuffles and deliberate foul plays, but it mostly occurred on the side of the under pressure New Zealanders.
Foster, however, believes it was a deliberate ploy by Argentina to provoke and antagonise his players and he has called out World Rugby for its failure to do something about what he calls the ‘dirty tactics’.
‘Clearly the off the ball stuff has almost been a feature of this whole tournament and we’ve had to adjust,’ Foster told reporters during his team announcement on Thursday.
‘We’ve taken some lessons in there, we’ve had a few apologies from the refs for some decisions.
‘But the reality is we’ve got to learn to control ourselves and be in charge of our discipline. It’s been an area that we’ve used a variety of techniques, one of which is me refereeing. We need to show a lot more composure and hopefully that shines through on Saturday.
‘There’s an emotive reaction that everyone wants, but World Rugby has come out apparently in the last week and said that if the retaliation is at a level above what the initial prodding was then the retaliator is going to get penalised.
‘For them, that’s reasonably clear. The problem with that strategy is that it just keeps encouraging people for little cheap shots and trying to provoke you.
‘Look, it’s a niggly part of the game, it seems to be a feature of this series, particularly in the last two to three weeks, but we can’t go in with an excuse of being surprised because it’s going to happen and if it does we’ve got to make sure our response is within the laws.
‘We’ve just got to be precise and physical and do what our job is. I think we saw a team that got distracted by it last time and it was wearing a black jersey, and we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’
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