All Blacks riled by McCaw 'cheap shot'
October 20, 2012
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw grapples with Scott Higginbotham © Getty Images
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was riled by a "cheap shot" on skipper Richie McCaw during Saturday night's 18-18 draw with Australia in Brisbane.
The All Blacks flanker was involved in an incident with Wallabies back-rower Scott Higginbotham, who has been cited on two counts of striking his opponent.
McCaw was caught up in a similar offence during the Rugby Championship, when South Africa prop Dean Greyling was banned for two weeks after a dangerous charge.
Hansen was disappointed not only with the treatment of his captain, but also with an error-strewn display from his side - who blew their chances of a record-breaking run of Test wins.
"I saw the head-butt - it's another cheap shot," Hansen said. "He seems to get them every week but everyone seems to miss them.
"It was probably one of the ugliest games of rugby I've seen. We're really, really disappointed, too many avoidable penalties, too many avoidable mistakes.
"But to play as poorly as we did and still manage to show the character and tenacity to get the draw was pleasing. It's not the end of the world but there's enough pain and hurt in the dressing room to make sure we learn the lessons from it."
McCaw was left frustrated by the incident, but expected that the game's judicial procedures would soon take over. "It's on TV so it will get dealt with," he said. "It does get frustrating at times and annoying but there's not much I can do about it."
Australia will hope that any sanction handed down is not too heavy, as they are already carrying a number of walking wounded prior to their northern hemisphere tour.
Waratahs lock Sitaleki Timani pulled up in the first-half at Suncorp Stadium, while Will Genia, Quade Cooper, David Pocock, James Horwill, James O'Connor and Berrick Barnes have all been sidelined prior to Test matches against France, England, Italy and Wales.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game