Hansen fires parting shot at refs
November 29, 2010
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has hit out at referee Alan Lewis © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has fired a parting shot at the refereeing fraternity following their Grand Slam-clinching win over Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, criticising Irish official Alan Lewis for his handling of the scrum.
New Zealand coasted to a 37-25 victory despite a below-par showing but came out on the wrong end of a 17-8 hammering in the penalty count, with a number arriving at the scrum. Hansen admitted that their frustrations with the officiating may lead them to remain passive on opposition ball in order to cut out the number of penalties.
"We are very frustrated with the officiating and we are going to have to go away and try and move on," he said. "The answer is don't put pressure on, just let them win their ball. "We will stop trying to put pressure on the opposition scrum so they stay up. We want to put pressure on them but if they fall over all the time we're getting penalised.
"We are not getting penalised on our own ball, it's only when we put pressure on the opposition's ball. We've tried talking to the referees, we have tried everything, but we're not making any headway. We're going to have to use the summer months to put our heads together and come up with a solution."
Hansen singled out Lewis' decision to award a scrum penalty in the final minutes, one that was kicked by Stephen Jones to bring the score to 23-18, as a particularly mystifying one.
"You could see the turf turned up, Keven [Mealamu, hooker] obviously felt they slipped over but Alan Lewis gave a penalty," Hansen said. "That's when you get frustrated with the officiating. Maybe a little common sense would have been good."
All Blacks boss Graham Henry joined in with the criticism, calling for 'sensitivity' when a poor surface may be hindering the scrummage, and has also floated the idea of a second referee replacing a tiring official later in games.
"I thought we struggled with the ref, we did not get the bounce of the ball with him which makes it difficult," he said. "To try and scrum well on that track was difficult for both sides and I think there needed to be some sensitivity there."
He added: "I think it would be a good idea to have two referees so you sub the first one when he's buggered and get the second one on. I'm not being silly. I honestly believe that would be an asset for the game because they do get into oxygen debt and then struggle to make good decisions. Anything to help the game would be good and I think that would be a positive."
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