Hansen not ‘whin­ing’ over rare red card

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen yes­ter­day said there would be no “whin­ing” from the New Zealan­ders over the Sonny Bill Wil­liams red card that proved piv­otal in his side’s dra­matic loss to the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions.

Star cen­tre Wil­liams be­came the first All Black to be sent off in 50 years af­ter a shoul­der-charge on An­thony Wat­son, giv­ing the Lions a one-man ad­van­tage for 55 min­utes in their 24-21 win in Welling­ton.

It was the All Blacks’ first loss on home soil since Septem­ber 2009, and only the fifth defeat of the Hansen’s five-and-a-half year ten­ure. Hansen said he was proud of the way his team “gutsed it out” de­spite the dis­ad­van­tage, and held off the Lions un­til the fi­nal min­utes. But he said the coura­geous per­for­mance by 14 men did not ease the pain of defeat, which lev­els the series at 1-1 and sets up a de­cider in Auck­land next week.

“Los­ing sucks whether you’ve got 15, 25 or two. It sucks,” he said. “But tonight is our turn to take it on the chin. It’s all very well be­ing gra­cious win­ners but we’ve got to ac­cept that we got beaten by a team that played bet­ter than us.

Hansen re­fused to crit­i­cise ref­eree Jerome Garces. He said he ac­cepted Garces’ de­ci­sion to send Wil­liams off for a shoul­der charge, al­though he ar­gued “it could have been a yel­low or a red”. “There’s no point whin­ing about it,” he said.

“Sonny didn’t use his arms so he put him­self at risk and un­for­tu­nately col­lected young An­thony’s head. You don’t want that and the ref­eree deemed it a red card.”

‘Captain Kieran Read also said he could not fault the red card, only the third ever given to a New Zealand in­ter­na­tional and the first handed to an All Black in a home Test.

“I didn’t have a great look (at the in­ci­dent) but that’s how it is these days,” he said. “If it’s to the head you just have to cop it don’t you?” Hansen said he did not be­lieve Wil­liams in­tended to hurt Wat­son, say­ing the player com­mit­ted a spur-ofthe-mo­ment ac­tion in the midst of an in­tense Test match. “Things hap­pen in the heat of the mo­ment and play­ers end up get­ting on the wrong side of the law,” he said.

He said the Lions had a sim­i­lar prob­lem when Mako Vu­nipola was sin-binned af­ter two dan­ger­ous tack­les on Beau­den Bar­rett. The All Blacks coach was also philo­soph­i­cal about the late penalty that Char­lie Fau­muina con­ceded for tack­ling Kyle Sinck­ler in the air, which al­lowed Owen Far­rel to kick the win­ning points.

“It’s tough but the law’s the law,” the for­mer po­lice­man said. “A guy like Char­lie’s about to make his tackle, he’s big boy about 130kg he hasn’t got the abil­ity to stop half way through.”

He said he was ex­cited about the Auck­land show­down, which will see the Lions at­tempt to win their first series in New Zealand since 1971. “We have to go away now and pre­pare bet­ter work harder and come tout to try and win the series next week.” — AFP


WELLING­TON: New Zealand All Blacks’ Sonny Bill Wil­liams re­acts af­ter be­ing sent off for a dan­ger­ous tackle on Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions’ An­thony Wat­son dur­ing the se­cond rugby union Test be­tween the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions and the New Zealand All Blacks.

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