'There's always been yellow cards' – Ian Foster not worried by harsh World Cup refereeing

The All Blacks aren't worried about the high number of yellow and red cards being shown at this year's Rugby World Cup, leading into their quarter-final against Ireland on Saturday.

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A record number of cards have already been brandished ahead of the quarter-finals. Source: 1 NEWS

At the end of pool play, a total of 32 cards have been shown by referees - 25 yellows and seven reds. The previous record for most red cards at a World Cup was four, shared by the 1995 and 1999 tournaments.

Speaking to media in Tokyo this afternoon, All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster was quizzed about the nature of refereeing at this year's World Cup. Foster says he's unconcerned by the harsher enforcement of rugby's laws, with emphasis placed on protecting a player's head.

"Those sort of things you prepare for years ago," Foster said.

"There's always been yellow cards, there's always been red cards. Yes, there are more in this tournament, that was well signalled early.

"We haven't spent all our time and effort coming up with multiple plans to do in that situation, we just want to go and play rugby. The focus has been on being technically as good as we can possibly be, in the areas we can control.

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1 NEWS Sport's Andrew Saville broke down the harsh refereeing guidelines on display in Japan. Source: Breakfast

"If you do go down a man, as we saw in the Namibia game, you just react and make decisions accordingly depending on the position of that player."

Meanwhile, prop Joe Moody says that the All Blacks are well aware of the current laws, concentrating on having the correct tackle technique moving towards the quarter-finals.

"We know that you just can't afford to go near the head with things," Moody told media.

"It's very black and white, stay away from the head."