Cape Town - All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has stepped into the latest card - or non-card - debate, claiming that New Zealand's number of carded offences last year prove the side isn’t receiving preferential treatment by referees, according to the Rugby Pass website.
“You have to ask the referees that, but clearly we don’t think we get any favours from the referees at all,” he said.
“They’ve got a tough job and I don’t know a top referee that doesn’t go out there just ref it the way he sees it.
“If you look at the penalty counts and yellow cards last year - weren’t we one of the top yellow-carded teams last year? I’m not sure how this ‘soft on us’ comes into fruition.”
The All Blacks finished 2017 with nine cards - one red and eight yellow - which was one of the highest totals in international rugby.
Prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi and flank Sam Cane escaped punishment for a gang tackle that fractured the skull of French wing Remy Grosso in last weekend's first Test in Auckland which has ruled the French flyer out of the rest of the tour.
Grosso will need to be cleared by medical officials to leave the country.
The incident has raised discussion of double standards after French lock Paul Gabrillagues received a yellow card for a similar high tackle offence earlier in the match.
Foster added he believes the legal tackle height needs to be addressed.
World Rugby has trialled a new legal height in the ongoing World Rugby U20 Championship in France which is across the chest, no higher than the nipple.
The No 1-ranked All Blacks won the first Test at Eden Park 52-11 after trailing 11-8 at half-time. The scores were dead-locked at 11-all in the 51st minute when Gabrillagues was sin-binned, after which the floodgates opened.
The sides will do battle in the second Test in Wellington on Saturday (kick-off at 09:35 SA time), with the third and final clash scheduled for Dunedin on June 23 at the same time.
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