Jonathan Kaplan suggests that referees are “finally beginning to understand what needs to be done” to eliminate what he describes as the All Blacks’ “marginal tactics under pressure”.
His assertion is backed in part by the statistic that New Zealand have received nine yellow cards in their past 12 Tests – and 10 during their record-equalling 18-match winning streak that ended in Sydney last week, when Wyatt Crockett and Beauden Barrett became the latest All Blacks sin-binned.
“Jaco Peyper made mistakes in this game no doubt, but needs credit for dishing out the cards when they were deserved,” Kaplan wrote on his website, Rate the Ref. “It engenders a whole lot of trust when the referee is prepared well, and is prepared to act.
“I’m not sure about some of Peyps’ general accuracy in this fixture as there appeared to be some questionable calls at the breakdown, and certainly Barrett was very unlucky to be given his marching orders as it appeared that the ball was not placed at the tackle, but left the hands of the ball carrier and so it could well have been a case of general play and hence a play on situation. It was a tough call to make as the outcome depends on slow motion adjudication, and perhaps the referee just had enough of what he rightly or wrongly considered to be negative tactics. I still feel for NZ in this particular case.”
Richie McCaw suggested after the Bledisloe Cup draw in Sydney that momentum played a major role in officiating the breakdown.
“Probably the team that has the momentum perhaps gets the rub of the green,” the All Blacks captain said in the post-match press conference. “When you are under the pump you are guilty of trying to force things a little bit rather than backing our defence, and some decisions went against us because we were on the back foot. We need to be a little bit smarter at times especially when we’re under the pump that we don’t give the ref an opportunity to make the decisions to make it worse.”
Steve Hansen, the All Blacks coach, said “we’ve got to go away and look at some of that stuff, work out if we were in the wrong and, if we were in the right, work out what we were doing to make him think we were in the wrong”.
“But there’s no point losing sleep over it because you’re playing sport and some days you’re not going to get the result you want.”
Read more on ESPN.