Rugby Championship: Michael Cheika and Ian Foster lock heads over breakdown officiating

·2-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Argentina head coach Michael Cheika and All Blacks boss Ian Foster did not see eye to eye on the breakdown officiating during their clash in Round Three of the Rugby Championship.

Cheika’s men claimed their first-ever win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil with a passionate 25-18 victory in Christchurch.

Argentina slowing the ball down

However, Foster believes the Pumas were intentionally slowing down the ball in the rucks as part of their tactics and was surprised not to see them blown for it.

“Overall I just felt that they got away with some stuff at the breakdown, not releasing the ball carrier on the ground, and we weren’t able to deal with it,” said Foster. “It was an area we got hammered in the penalty count at critical times. I’m probably a little bit bemused by some of that.”

The Argentina coach disagreed with the nature of Foster’s response and subsequently accused the All Blacks of the same thing.

“Well, he’d be an expert on it because his team does it all the time, so he should know,” Cheika said.

“I don’t know if that’s the right response after the game.”

The former Australian coach took the war of words a step further by discussing the powerful performances of Pablo Matera, who spent this year’s Super Rugby Pacific season with the Crusaders, claiming the title.

Scott Robertson’s influence on Matera

Cheika commended Scott Robertson, Crusaders coach and a candidate for the All Blacks role when Foster was given it, for his influence on Matera.

“I think that the Crusaders have made a really huge mark, and Scott Robertson has made a really huge mark on Pablo,” Cheika said. “It shows the quality of the franchise and the coaching here, he’s come back a heaps better player — mentally and technically.”

Los Pumas expect a significant response from the All Blacks next weekend as the side prepares for their second of two Tests in New Zealand before facing South Africa home and away to round up their Rugby Championship.

“It’s a blockbuster because they’re going to be coming with everything,” Cheika said.

“It’ll be a great lesson for us on how to handle these situations when they’ll be coming hard. We’ve got to bring something as well to match it.”

READ MORE: All Blacks: Ian Foster provides reasoning for the timing of substitutions

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