Wellington - Australia's attempt to impose themselves with physical aggression in
the second Bledisloe Cup match in Wellington was a sign of "weakness"
and a team not concentrating on their rugby, according to All Blacks
Thrashed 42-8 at home in the opener in Sydney, the Wallabies brought
more niggle in the spite-tinged re-match in Wellington but fell 29-9 in
another one-sided defeat.
"We saw it as a bit more of a weakness from them that they were worried
about putting that in and we were just playing rugby," All Blacks lock
Brodie Retallick told local media on Monday.
"I don't mind it, to be fair. They play their way, we play ours. I don't mind the physical stuff."
Flanker Sam Cane was similarly dismissive of the abrasive tactics
brought by Michael Cheika's team who slumped to their sixth straight
loss to surrender the Bledisloe Cup early for another year.
"We knew they would come out a lot more physical and potentially with a bit of niggle," he told local media.
"The way they went about it was probably what caught us off guard just a
fraction but we acknowledged it pretty quickly that that was how they
were going to play.
"In a funny way it's a good thing when you realise the opposition are
playing like that because it means they're not really focused on their
footy as much.
"And as long as we worry about playing footy and executing our stuff
right, then there should be some answers and I suppose that's how the
game played out."
The comments are unlikely to be well received in Australia where former
players and pundits were up in arms over an alleged eye-gouging incident
involving All Blacks prop Owen Franks.
Franks' hand came in contact with lock Kane Douglas's face in full view
of referee Romain Poite but both players' denied it was gouging and the
incident was dismissed by the tournament's citing commissioner.
The All Blacks host Argentina in Hamilton on Saturday in the third round of the Rugby Championship.
The Pumas slotted a late penalty to clinch a tight 26-24 win at home
over South Africa last week after letting victory slip in the opener in
"They have come a long way," Cane said of Argentina.
"Once they get that ball moving, those offloads, they're some of the best in the world.