Gardner was also in the firing line for missing a Rieko Ioane foot into touch moments before the All Blacks motored downfield and scored their first try.
While Plumtree didn’t name specific incidents, a Harry Wilson hit on Richie Mo’unga could have been considered late. Then there was James O’Connor’s contact which tripped Jordie Barrett after his final pass to Marika Koroibete before a Wallabies try. However, O’Connor only made contact with Barrett after Ioane made contact with him.
New Zealand won the penalty count 14-7 and will need to win two of the remaining three matches between the sides to retain the Bledisloe Cup, which they have held since 2003.
Plumtree’s calculated airing of the All Blacks’ grievances has added extra spice to the second Test.
“There were several occasions where there was some off-ball incidents but it’s got to be dealt with properly on the field,” Plumtree said. “We’ve got to be able to adjust to that … and I think that’s probably why you’ve got a couple of senior players in particular pretty fired up about it.
“They see what they see, and if Paul missed stuff, then he’s missed it. But if it’s a consistent habit that he’s seeing and it’s not being looked after, then obviously we’d be disappointed.
“If their intent is greater than ours around off-ball incidents, then we’ve just got to make sure we have a crack back at them.”
Despite going on the front foot initially, Plumtree then insisted New Zealand wouldn’t let it affect them.
“But All Blacks don’t cry. We just get on with it and adjust to how the game is being refereed,” Plumtree said. “That’s in every department … and we have to adjust to how the game is being played.”
Meanwhile, the Wallabies are hoping to bring a similar level of intensity after the bruising encounter in Wellington.
While the Wallabies haven’t reported any injury concerns, the All Blacks are monitoring second-rower Sam Whitelock, as well as playmakers Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett.
Whitelock has suffered headaches since the match and is undergoing return to play protocols. Mo’unga copped a “stinger” and is still sore, while Barrett is back training lightly after being ruled out on the eve of the first Test with a minor achilles injury.
All Blacks reserve Anton Lienert-Brown, who worked under Wallabies coach Dave Rennie at the Chiefs, echoed the sentiment of other teammates that they didn’t match Australia’s physicality.
“I don’t think there was one person within the team who was too proud of what they put out,” Lienert-Brown said. “I needed to be better. Everyone is motivated to be better.
“Knowing Rens, I know how he coaches … I think the most disappointing thing is we talked about it all week but we didn’t meet their intent of physicality.”
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Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald