Alan Quinlan Urges Referee Wayne Barnes To Police “Cynical” All Blacks

Cynical.

Former Munster and Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan has said referee Wayne Barnes “need to be alert” to the All Blacks today, who he feels “get away with more misdemeanours than most.”

Quinlan reckons the All Blacks are a hugely “cynical” side that deploy “tactics designed to push game’s laws to their limits”, and has pleaded with Barnes, who takes charge of this evening’s game, to not allow them to get away with it.

“To play rugby well you need to bend the laws as far as you can, that’s why strong referees are so important.” Quinlan writes in his Irish Independent column.

“Wayne Barnes has his quirks but he is an excellent official who doesn’t get intimidated.”

“The set-piece is an area of great interest today, particularly in light of Ireland’s contrasting fortunes in the scrum and lineout last week, and the All Blacks’ success on England’s throw seven days ago – largely thanks to the superb spoiling abilities of Brodie Retallick.”

“The All Blacks are the best rugby team in the world for many reasons but having the dexterity to play on the edge is one of their primary assets.”

“The speed with which they enter rucks, often illegally; their slowing down of the ball; and their disregard for the offside line are areas where a lot of the All Black indiscretions occur.”

Quinlan also highlights New Zealand’s ‘illegal’ play at set-pieces.

“The All Blacks also regularly get away with ignoring laws around the set-piece.” Quinlan adds

“Steve Hansen’s side have scored 14 first-phase tries off scrums this year – just like when Barrett touched down in that 2016 Test at Lansdowne Road.”

“By the letter of the law, the first receiver must be five metres behind the scrum until it is completed but time and again we see Barrett taking a flat ball from Smith off the back of the set-piece.”

“Barnes and his assistants need to be alert to these areas today. If they aren’t, Ireland could be on the receiving end of a kicking, and there is nothing a citing commissioner can do about it.”

You can read Quinlan’s excellent column in full here.