All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has attempted to draw a line under the Kieran Read potential foul play incident which saw the captain's arm connect with Pieter-Steph du Toit's neck area during the recent Rugby World Cup pool match in Yokohama.
The incident early in the second half as Read attempted to stop du Toit charging through a lineout to get to halfback Aaron Smith has received plenty of views on social media and a variety of reactions to match, particularly from supporters of the All Blacks and Springboks.
The All Blacks won the game 23-13 and are highly likely to win Pool B as a result, a key position given Ireland's comprehensive 27-3 win over Scotland at the same Yokohama Stadium venue on Sunday. As it stands, the All Blacks are likely to play the Scots in their quarter-final, with an ominous looking Ireland, the probable Pool A winners, playing South Africa in theirs.
"I saw it," Foster said of the Read incident. "I think the game needs to be reassured that we're probably at the most scrutinised World Cup ever. There are a lot of cameras on that people are looking at and citing commissioners and television match officials. I think we've just got to have a bit of faith in that programme rather than reacting to social media."
Foster's reference to scrutiny as far as official discipline protocols goes refers too to social media.
This is likely to be a recurring theme at this World Cup and all that follow and in fact new footage has come to light on a social media platform showing Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong in a potential foul play incident involving Scotland flanker Hamish Watson which resulted in an injury and an early flight home for the Scotsman.
In attempting to clean out Watson at a ruck, Furlong cocks his shoulder and drives into his unprotected opponent. The only citing of the tournament so far has been that of Wallabies wing Reece Hodge for his shoulder to the head of Fiji flanker Peceli Yato in Australia's 39-21 win in Sapporo.
The All Blacks, however, proud of giving up only four penalties to South Africa's nine, have other matters to concern themselves with; primarily a trip to Beppu on the southern island of Kyushu tomorrow (Tuesday) where they will prepare to play Canada at Oita on October 2.
They are happy with where they are at performance-wise and are preparing to welcome back Brodie Retallick following his recovery from a dislocated shoulder; they won't put a date on his return, but his involvement in their third pool game against Namibia in Tokyo on October 6 wouldn't surprise.
Foster said he was happy with his side's ambition and creativity against the Boks and the next phase of the tournament would be to improve the game understanding and connections between players on the field.
"The reality is we've got three more opportunities to hone our game and get it to the point we need it to be at," Foster said. "We're going to go into this Canada and Namibia phase … to really grow confidence in some parts of our game that are still not quite right. World Cups are about living your standards daily. The minute we think we've had one good game and made it then we're going to get smacked."
Already it appears that the All Blacks have dodged a potential bullet by beating South Africa, as Ireland, who calmly and efficiently dismantled Scotland, appear a dangerous prospect. Foster described them as "ruthless".
"They did what they had to do in those conditions. It was a big game for them. I thought there was a lot in that game early but Ireland obviously just wore them down with the methodical way they went about things. They went to their areas of strength – their lineout drive – they'll be pretty satisfied."
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