The All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has stepped into the ‘Grosso’ debate, claiming that the All Blacks number of carded offenses in the last year prove that the side isn’t receiving preferential treatment by referees.
“You have to ask the referees that but clearly we don’t think we get any favours from the referees at all,” he said.
“They’ve got a tough job and I don’t know a top referee that doesn’t go out there just ref it the way he sees it.
“If you look at the penalty counts and yellow cards last year – weren’t we one of the top yellow-carded teams last year? I’m not sure how this ‘soft on us’ comes into fruition.”
The All Blacks finished 2017 with nine cards – one red and eight yellow – which was one of the highest totals in international rugby.
“It’s hurt us, yellow cards. We’re like other teams, we don’t like going down to 14. It’s something we work hard to make sure technically we’re as sound as possible.
“Our players are like others – sometimes bad technique takes over.
“Our expectation is if we go high we’re really susceptible to the punishment that everyone else gets. I think we’ve been pretty open and honest with how we interpreted last week.
Ofa Tuungafasi and Sam Cane escaped punishment for a gang tackle that fractured the skull of French winger Remy Grosso, which has ruled him out of the rest of the tour. He needs to be cleared by medical officials to leave the country. The incident has raised discussion of double standards after French lock Paul Gabrillagues received a yellow card earlier for a similar high tackle offense.
Foster added he believes the legal tackle height needs to be addressed. World Rugby has trialed a new legal height in the under-20 World Cup Championships in France which is across the chest, no higher than the nipple.
“I think we all agree it has to come down a bit,” he said.
He gave credit to the French defence which disrupted the All Blacks for large parts of the match and believes the side needs to make a better start in Wellington for the second test.
“We need to make sure we impose ourselves a little bit earlier in the game.
“The French defended well for that first 50 minutes and were making it quite tough for us, so there’s still plenty for us to nail down.
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