Ian Foster: All Blacks head coach issues Test red card warning

David Skippers

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has warned his players to modify their tackle technique and said he expects the recent upsurge in red cards in Super Rugby Pacific to continue in internationals later this season.

Referees have been strict on actions which resulted in contact to the head in Super Rugby Pacific and regularly issue red card for such offences even if the indiscretions are inadvertent.

Used to be a rare occurrence

The issuing of red cards used to be rare with players only receiving their marching orders for serious foul play incidents.

But that has all changed this year with few Super Rugby Pacific rounds passing without at least one player being red carded and during one of the tournament’s rounds five players were sent off from six matches played.

And Foster expects plenty of red cards to be issued in Tests if players do not adapt.

“It will have an impact at Test level, no doubt about that,” he said on Sky Television’s The Breakdown programme. “We saw that in 2019 at the World Cup when this initiative really hit home.

Referees “have certainly been ramping it up this year and we’ve got to learn.”

Foster believes many red cards happen during collisions when a defender joins a situation after the first hit had already been made.

“You don’t see a lot of red cards for the tackler hitting the ball-carrier high,” he said. “The problem seems to be the tackle-assist. It’s the second guy coming in.

“I think it’s one of the things in the games in which defence coaches are trying to get two in the tackle to win that collision.

“It’s the second guy coming in who’s not making that late adjustment based on the body (height) change in the tackle.”

Foster feels coaches will have to rethink whether it is worthwhile to send a second player into some tackle situations.

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