All Blacks are not referees' pet says Foster
JUNE SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster does not believe his team is “getting away with murder” on the field of play.
There has been a lot talk about the incident which left France wing Remy Grosso with a double skull fracture after a tackle by Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi in the first Test at Eden Park.
In the incident, Grosso took successive, back-to-back shots to the head. Cane was penalised for a high tackle but Tu’ungafasi escaped punishment.
After New Zealand’s 52-11 win, Former elite England referee Rob Debney suggested in a newspaper column and that referees subconsciously lenient towards the All Blacks.
However, not surprisingly, Foster does not share Debney’s view.
“No,” Foster told reporters at the team’s hotel on Tuesday.
“You have to ask the referees that, but clearly we don’t think we get any favours from the referees at all. They’ve got a tough job and I don’t know a top referee that doesn’t go out there to just ref it the way he sees it.
“I think if you look at the penalty counts [and] yellow cards last year, we were one of the top yellow-carded teams in the world so I’m not sure how this soft on us [notion] comes to fruition.”
There was a sense of injustice when France lock Paul Gabrillagues received a yellow card for a tackle on Ryan Crotty but no card was given out when Cane and Tu’ungafasi came into contact with Grosso.
To make matters worse the Grosso incident looked much worse than Gabrillagues’ tackle on Crotty.
“I think we’ve been pretty open and honest about how we interpreted last week,” said Foster.
“We thought they were a little bit unlucky with their yellow card; it was one of those marginal ones. Was it up there? Yes it was. Was it significant? Probably not.”
On the Grosso incident, Foster added: “The question is: was it worthy of a yellow card? And, I guess, between a referee and an independent citing commissioner, they’ve said no. So we’ve just got to take the emotion out of it.”