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'The biggest issue out of it wasn't time wasting': Ian Foster delivers final take on Foley-Raynal saga

By Ben Smith
(Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

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All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has clarified his position around the officiating in last week’s test, explaining that he likes the way Mathieu Raynal makes strong calls whether right or wrong.

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Mathieu Raynal’s late game call to penalise Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley for taking too long to make a clearing kick has been a hotly debated topic in the aftermath of the All Blacks 39-37 win in Melbourne.

Foster said that referees are under the microscope more than ever before but his point last week was the onus is on the players to listen to those in charge of applying the rules.

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“My response after the game was more around players have got to learn to listen to referees,” Foster explained when queried about his post-match comments.

“It’s a cliche to say ‘there is overall problems with the officiating’, I think you have to be really specific.

“It’s tough on refs now, they are under a lot of scrutiny.

“When people perceive that decisions have cost games, then they get put under the microscope, don’t they? Last week’s [game] has created an issue that has been pretty well talked about.”

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The All Blacks review and submit any interpretation matters they want clarified like any other test side said Foster, but they understand that the referees are working hard to get things right ahead of the next World Cup.

“From our perspective, we’ve gone through a normal process. There’s always things that we would like to see differently in a test match.

“We’ve presented our case in that space too, as we normally would but overall what I liked about Mathieu last week is he backed himself.

“He’s strong and if he sees a decision, he makes a decision. Does it mean everything is right? Not really. That goes the same with all of us, I guess.

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“They are working hard behind the scenes to get things right, grow experience before a World Cup, it’s a tough process for the refs.”

On whether a precedent had been set for a wider crackdown on time wasting following last week’s contentious call, Foster said he didn’t know.

The All Blacks head coach made it clear that the issue was not with the time wasting itself, and if the players in question had listened it would not have become a problem.

“I’m not frustrated by the language [around time wasting], but I said at the time and I’ve been very consistent with this,” Foster said.

“If you look at the last decision, the biggest issue out of it wasn’t time wasting.

“The biggest issue is that when a ref gives you clear instructions, at some point you’ve got to listen to him.

“Otherwise, what’s the point of having a referee out there? And that was my main point.

“Time wasting, every team will find ways to slow momentum down at certain times.

“If there is a move by World Rugby to speed up the game and have less time wasting, well we are behind that 100 per cent because that’s what we want.”

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