Was it just me or was Romain Poite like a traffic cop looking to book his quota of tickets with his yellow cards last night?
Richie McCaw's looked touch and go -- they could have yellow-carded the Aussies for taking Conrad Smith out at one stage as well. Then Ben Franks got binned with a few minutes left but once he left, Will Skelton lay on New Zealand's side of the ruck twice and killed the ball when the All Blacks were on attack. He should have been off, too. The ref wasn't consistent. All you can ask for is consistency and I thought those sin-binnings were a bit silly.
When you add it to the Jaco Peyper episode last weekend, the pressure has to go on referees to be consistent. Even if they're consistently bad you can play the game to it. Everyone knows the laws. These guys are professionals and a lot are doing their job poorly. As a group, they are not taking responsibility to get it right.
Sure, the likes of Michael Hooper and McCaw play to the limit of the law. We expect them to get pinged a few times a match but we want the game to be fast and attractive, so bring the advantage into play.
On the upside, the All Blacks who started last night stood up and improved on the previous week. They cut down on errors, showed more vigour and consequently dominated.
The locks, Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, were bloody good but I'm not sure I've seen Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks doing so much work around the fringes of rucks. Dane Coles was also doing his bit and it set a good platform for the rest of the team.
I know Australia had a player binned at the time but the All Blacks roasted the Wallabies in a couple of scrums. It was all power and precision and, as a former front rower, it made me glow. That sort of platform enabled Aaron Smith and Aaron Cruden to play outstandingly with front-foot ball. Julian Savea and Ben Smith were also hunting for everything and confidence rose as a result.