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'He asked them twice to kick it': Ian Foster on Foley's costly game management

By Ben Smith
Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie (L) talks to All Blacks head coach Ian Foster ahead of The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Marvel Stadium on September 15, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster believed a very clear call was made from Mathieu Raynal to hand over possession after a delay of the game from the Wallabies.

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The Wallabies looked moments away from a famous win in Melbourne after inside centre Lalakai Foketi secured a critical holding on penalty to snuff out a driving maul from the All Blacks to win the game.

With 90 seconds remaining on the clock, flyhalf Bernard Foley was told by Raynal to make the clearance to touch but the veteran Wallaby was too slow for the referee’s liking.

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Raynal blew a scrum to the All Blacks, turning the tables on the Wallabies which led to a try in extra time to fullback Jordie Barrett.

“I thought it was very clear cut, they were delaying the kick,” Foster said of the decision.

“He said ‘time off’, he warned them and then he said ‘time off’, he said to them ‘speed it up’ and then he said ‘time on’.

“He asked them twice to kick it. I understand the contentious nature about it but it was very clear cut from our position.”

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Foster pointed to the way that Andrew Kellaway’s first try was handled by the officials as an ‘unclear’ situation, explaining that the TMO had warranted the pas a second look but that the on-field referees allowed the conversion to take place.

“The other one that wasn’t clear cut was Kellaway’s try, the TMO wanted to look at what was a very suspicious forward pass and yet the conversion was allowed to be taken,” he said.

“There is a bit of swings and roundabouts but in both cases, it is what is is.”

When the issue was brought up again in the post-match press conference, Foster put responsibility on the Wallabies and indirectly on Bernard Foley for his role in the debacle.

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The All Blacks head coach said it came down to ‘game management’ and understanding the directions from the referee, to which Foley had not given enough weight too.

“Can I just say, part of your game management is listening to the referee,” Foster said.

“So when the referee says time on, you have to play it.

“I just saw it out there, I saw it very clearly, I heard very clearly what the ref said.

“I think we have got to be careful. If people think that decided the test match then you have to go back and analyse all the other decisions in the game too.

“I thought the ref was very clear about what we did, so whether people agree or disagree, he certainly had a clear mind about it.”

Foley blamed the delay in trying to get his team to understand the lineout call over the 39 seconds that elapsed.

“We were understanding the lineout call,” Foley later told Stan Sport.

“The ref said time off and he sped it up.

“It’s just disappointing how great a game was and yet we’re talking about the referee.”

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