The Weekend Herald's front page of the sports section drew the ire of the Australian rugby team in the wake of their 37-10 defeat to the All Blacks.
Coach Michael Cheika was portrayed as a clown by cartoonist Rod Emmerson alongside the headline, Send in the Clowns.
Captain Steven Moore said it was "disrespectful" and Cheika referred to the image when asked for his thoughts on the All Blacks' record-breaking 18th win tonight.
"I don't think they want our comment," he told media afterwards. "They dressed up as clowns today [in the paper]."
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also passed comment on the clown portrayal.
"I've been dressed up as a clown myself," he said. "You don't want to take it to heart."
Relations between the two camps have been frosty, with Hansen and Cheika often trading barbs. The All Blacks also found a listening device in a chair of their team hotel in the leadup to August's Sydney test.
Weekend Herald editor Miriyana Alexander said the Rod Emmerson illustration was a beauty.
"It was all in good fun. The Aussies have a proud record of poking the borax at us, so we thought it was time they got a taste of their own medicine," she said.