All Blacks ready to fight fire with fire

Sports | REUTERS 16 Oct 2020

New Zealand assistant coach 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 Bledisloe Cup rugby match is similarly lenient, 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 the fly-half was the victim of several late tackles not picked up by Kiwi referee Paul Williams.

Plumtree said he hoped the referee for the game at Auckland's Eden Park, Australia's Angus Gardner, would be more vigilant.

"There were several occasions where there was some off-ball incidents, but it has got to be dealt with properly on the field," he said.

Plumtree added that if the Wallabies adopted similar tactics on Sunday and went unchecked, the All Blacks would have no choice but to give the visitors a dose of their own medicine.

"There are always going to be big talking moments in Test matches, and one of the bigger talking moments [from the first Test] 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.

"If their intent is greater than ours around off-ball incidents, we've just got to make sure we have a crack back at them."

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