'Provoked' All Blacks urged to be smarter

Justin Chadwick
·2-min read

All Blacks coach Ian Foster says his team need to be smarter and calmer when "provoked" by the opposition.

Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup clash in Brisbane produced two red cards, two yellow cards, and plenty of niggle as tempers threatened to boil over.

The Wallabies came away with the 24-22 win, and Foster was left lamenting his team's lack of discipline.

The red cards handed to All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Wallabies debutant Lachie Swinton stole the headlines immediately after the match.

But a late cynical foul from All Blacks lock Scott Barrett seemed to irk Foster just as much.

Barrett was handed a yellow card in the 68th minute when he knocked the ball out of the hands of Nic White as the Wallabies halfback was preparing to pass from a ruck.

"In the second half we weren't as disciplined as we needed to be," Foster said on Sunday after having time to digest the game.

"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."

The All Blacks cried foul after the 16-16 draw in Wellington last month, saying the referee did not do enough to punish off-the-ball hits inflicted by the Wallabies.

Foster said his team had no excuses for the ill discipline on Saturday night, and wants to see them adopt a calmer approach in similarly feisty situations in the future.

Some former players have criticised the amount of cards handed out following Saturday's match, but Foster believes it's a necessary measure to have.

"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," Foster said.

"And 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.

"And that's why, when people start talking about 'You don't need cards' and all that. I get that argument to one extent.

"But 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."