All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen blasted his team’s poor discipline on Saturday after they crashed to defeat against Australia, but refused to be drawn on whether he thought Scott Barrett’s red card was justified.
New Zealand gave away three needless penalties in the first half and drifted into too many offside positions before lock Barrett’s sending off put the final nail in their coffin in the 47-26 loss.
Hansen said there were issues that needed to be looked at ahead of the return leg of the Bledisloe Cup in Auckland next week.
“The red card didn’t help us, but we didn’t help ourselves either. Our discipline was poor early in the first half … There were numerous occasions we got offside when we didn’t need to,” he said.
“They’re the sort of things we need to go away and fix up.
“At the same time, I’m extremely proud of how they hung in. I mean, if you’re going to get a red card the worst side you can get one against is a side that wants to play footy.
“And Australia wanted to play footy, they wanted to play fast. At the end, they found more space than we could cover.”
Some commentators suggested French referee Jerome Garces’ decision to send off Barrett for a clumsy shoulder charge that caught Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper on the head was harsh.
But Hansen said he needed to review the incident before making any judgements.
“Regardless of whether I’m happy about it or not, it’s his decision, he’s made that and we’ll go to the judiciary now and there will be a process and we’ll have to live with it,” he said.
“You don’t want to be pre-judging at this point. We’ll look at the video and see if there are mitigating circumstances.”
– ‘Torn on both sides’ –
AFP / TONY ASHBY Nic White scored one of Australia’s six tries in the hammering of New Zealand
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, basking in a rare victory over their trans-Tasman rivals, voiced sympathy for Barrett, but said the referee was doing his job.
“I like to play the game tough so disappointed for a player to get (sent) off for that,” he said.
“But referees are given guidelines and he went through the guidelines exactly as he needed to and he made the decision that he was required to make.
“I’m sort of torn on both sides,” he added. “They went through the regulations but I feel for the opposition player as well.”
Cheika said even with 14 players the All Blacks were no push over, and denied it detracted from their bumper win.
“When they’re got 15 on the field it feels like 20, so when they’ve got 14 on the field it still feels like they’ve got 17 or 18,” he said.
“We didn’t even talk about the guy getting sent off at half-time,” he added. “Not a word. Because we know how good they are and that’s a sucker-punch if you start thinking about that.”
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