Hansen turns whistle­blower

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A frus­trated Steve Hansen has fired a rocket at World Rugby, de­mand­ing they im­prove their lead­er­ship, lis­ten to coaches and move with the times.

All Blacks coach Hansen, speak­ing in the af­ter­math of his side’s 3-0 se­ries win over France in New Zealand, ac­cepted he could ‘‘get a slap on the knuck­les for talk­ing too much’’ but by de­liv­er­ing a broad­side at World Rugby he hopes the sport will ben­e­fit from pro­gres­sive change.

The 2018 tests have been marred by con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sions from of­fi­cials. Hansen said World Rugby needs to move with the times.

‘‘It has got to a point where we have got to do some­thing. Be­cause it is start­ing to af­fect the game,’’ Hansen said yes­ter­day.

The re­cent tests against France have been loaded with con­tro­ver­sial is­sues. Dur­ing the All Blacks’ 49-14 win over France in Dunedin on Satur­day night the tourists were in­censed that Damian Mckenzie was awarded a try when it ap­peared Bap­tiste Serin had been blocked by ref­eree John Lacey.

Dur­ing the sec­ond test French full­back Ben­jamin Fall was red carded by ref An­gus Gard­ner when he col­lided with Beau­den Bar­rett in the air. In a bizarre twist, Gard­ner was later thrown un­der the bus by World Rugby who said he was wrong to send Fall off. And on Satur­day night, the Wal­la­bies blew up when Is­rael Fo­lau was yel­low carded for a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent.

Hansen said the game has changed be­cause it was faster and was so fluid but World Rugby hasn’t moved with the times.

‘‘We haven’t re­ally changed the way we ref. We are still do­ing it the way we used to. We are say­ing there is one guy con­trol­ling the game all the time and he is not. The TMO last night [in Dunedin] had a lot to say in it.’’

Dur­ing the test at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium blind­side flanker Shan­non Frizell ap­peared to have scored, some­thing Lacey con­firmed. Yet TMO Ge­orge Ay­oub dis­agreed: ‘‘I heard the ref­eree say ‘I saw a clear ground­ing’ and then the try is not awarded,’’ Hansen said. ‘‘So who is con­trol­ling the game?’’

Five years ago Hansen and sev­eral other coaches sug­gested World Rugby in­tro­duce a ‘‘chal­lenge’’ sys­tem but got nowhere.

‘‘Get rid of the TMO and say ‘righto coaches, you get two chal­lenges’. If your chal­lenge is cor­rect, then you keep your two chal­lenges. If you don’t you lose it.’’

The prob­lem for World Rugby is that if it re­fuses to lis­ten to sug­ges­tions from the likes of Hansen and co, it will alien­ate its ref­er­ees. Hansen spoke to Gard­ner, an as­sis­tant ref­eree in Dunedin, and the lat­ter said he was con­fused by World Rugby’s de­ci­sion to rub out Fall’s red card.

The ref­er­ees need more di­rec­tion and sup­port, Hansen said: ‘‘It is af­fect­ing the peo­ple reff­ing the game,’’ he said. ‘‘They are do­ing their very best. I was talk­ing to Gus [An­gus Gard­ner] and he is shrug­ging his shoul­ders [say­ing] ‘what do I do?’

‘‘I said ‘well, you can’t do any­thing other than what you did’.’’

Hansen was asked how can he and his part­ners at NZ Rugby can get World Rugby to tune in to these mes­sages.

‘‘To get them to lis­ten? If you can an­swer that you are a bet­ter man than me,’’ he said. ‘‘I am not sure. You have just got to keep talk­ing to them, I sup­pose. I think they have set a prece­dence, haven’t they, when An­gus [Gard­ner] did ev­ery­thing by the book with the French red card and then they let him off.

‘‘They now have to go away and have a look at it them­selves.’’

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