In one of the most dramatic finishes test rugby has witnessed, French referee Mathieu Raynal awarded a match-turning infringement for Bernard Foley taking too long to kick the ball from a penalty. Video / Sky Sports
Ian Foster has revealed the All Blacks have placed an emphasis on time-wasting by opposition teams this year, as the fallout continues from his side’s contentious Bledisloe Cup victory.
The All Blacks coach “absolutely” stood by his post-match assertion that the free kick awarded against Bernard Foley was the correct decision, feeling the Wallabies playmaker had given referee Mathieu Raynal no choice.
Foster believed there was little debate about that particular call, which allowed the All Blacks to score a late try and again clinch the Bledisloe Cup, but the focus should instead be placed on the wider issue of time-wasting.
While Foley was the unfortunate party to concede the crucial free kick, Foster said the first five-eighth was far from alone in slowing the game.
“There was a lot building up into that particular period – there were a number of delays and things,” Foster told Newstalk ZB. “Ultimately I think the debate is at two levels. The first debate is time-wasting in a game, and I think that’s worthy of a separate conversation.
“We’ve been trying to drive that message all year, to be fair, with how teams slow things down. When it comes back to how you can speed the game up, we’re certainly in on that debate.
“With the scrum resets, they are making moves to do that. There’s clearly delays in teams going to lineouts and maybe that’s another area where we could improve as a game.
“Overall I think there’s a whole lot of little areas where things can change, but I just don’t really believe that the last decision is tied to that debate.”
Foster instead thought the decision to sanction the Wallabies was much more simple, reiterating his view from Thursday night that good game management involved listening to the referee.
Foley felt aggrieved by those comments, saying it was “disappointing” for the coach to appear to apportion blame, but Foster didn’t shy away from expounding on the matter.
“The last decision was, should you actually listen to a referee on the field when he’s asking you to do something?” Foster said. “The ref was very clear with his instructions, and the game has to give authority to the referee. If he’s asking players to do something to speed things up, it’s our job to respond to it.
“The game is run by the referee. He said time off, he warned them, he said time on and then he asked them twice to play it. So I don’t actually really see the issue with it.”
Foster was unsure whether the rare call made by Raynal would spark among referees a great focus on time-wasting, which had become an increasing scourge in the game.
“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “What I do know is it was one incident where a referee was really clear in his instructions and he wanted the players to respond.
“So I don’t think we can extrapolate that into a bigger issue. I think that was one issue.”