WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand assistant John Plumtree said Australia got away with several off-the-ball incidents in the drawn first test in Wellington and that if the referee for Sunday’s second match is similarly lenient then the All Blacks will fight fire with fire.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster was particularly unhappy with some of the treatment dished out to Richie Mo’unga, saying on Monday the flyhalf was the victim of several late tackles that were not picked up by referee Paul Williams of New Zealand.
Assistant coach Plumtree continued that theme on Wednesday, saying he hoped the referee for the second Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park, Australia’s Angus Gardner, would be more vigilant.
“That type of play on the field has got to be dealt with by the ref,” Plumtree told reporters in Auckland.
“There were several occasions where there was some off-ball incidents, but it has got to be dealt with properly on the field.”
Plumtree added that if the Wallabies adopted similar tactics on Sunday and went unchecked, then the All Blacks would have no choice but to give the visitors a dose of their own medicine in front of what is expected to be a sold-out crowd of 47,000.
“There are always going to be big talking moments in test matches, and one of the bigger talking moments (from the first game) were some of the late hits and off-the-ball incidents,” he added.
“But All Blacks don’t cry – we just get on with it, and adjust to how the game is being refereed.
“I think that’s probably why you’ve got a couple of senior players in particular pretty fired up about it.
“If their intent is greater than ours around off-ball incidents, then we’ve just got to make sure we have a crack back at them.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford