All Blacks coach Ian Foster has revealed the team have received apologies from match officials for some of the decisions made during their recent tests.
The All Blacks are riding their first two-match losing streak since 2011, with discipline being an area of concern in their losses to the Wallabies and Pumas.
But while they have received apologies, Foster knows his team have to improve.
“It doesn’t change anything for Saturday, we’ve just got to be better at what we can control.
“Clearly the off-the-ball stuff has almost been a feature of this whole tournament and we’ve had to adjust, we’ve taken some lessons in there, we’ve had a few apologies from the referees for some decisions, but the reality is we’ve got to learn to control ourselves and be in charge of our own discipline.”
There has been a lot made of off-the-ball incidents during the Tri Nations, and the fact referees are now starting to punish retaliation to penalties if the retaliation goes above the initial infringement – as was demonstrated when Dane Coles gave an opposing player a slap in the face, resulting in a penalty being overturned.
His wasn’t the only infringement in which the off-the-ball jousting got the better of someone, and Foster said the players have worked hard to address that over the past two weeks in preparation for their rematch against Argentina in Newcastle this weekend, in what will be their final test of the year.
“It’s an area where we’ve used different techniques, one of which is me refereeing, just to highlight areas where we need to show a lot more composure and hopefully that shines through on Saturday.
“I think the last test always brings a lot of emotion. This has been made a little bit different again by having a so-called bye week before it. It has been a long couple of weeks but it’s also been a valuable time for us to take some lessons and keep working.
“It is the end of a long season and an absolute unique season that hopefully never gets repeated again for a whole lot of health reasons with Covid-19, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got a test match that we have to perform in. We’ve got another opportunity to actually finish this year on the level we want to, plus we’ve got a chance to win the championship that we’re playing in and that means a lot to us.”
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