McKenzie & Hansen In War Of Words

Ewen McKenzie and Steve Hansen have accused each other of dirty play in a bitter aftermath to the Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington.

McKenzie wants to seek an immediate review of rugby’s penalty advantage interpretations following the 27-16 defeat to the All Blacks, suggesting they expertly manipulated the laws to force Australia to kick for goals.

But Hansen warned McKenzie to “be careful” and stop blaming referees for his team’s performance.

“He just needs to be careful, how far he wants to take it, because when they have a good look at it they’ll see the Aussies taking us out off the ball,” Hansen said.

“Usually you’re better of to play the game and get on with it, you can’t blame the ref.

“You could pick holes in every decision made, but where does it get you? It is what it is, you’ve just got to take it on the chin.

“If they think that’s why they lost the game – the hardest job on the field at the moment is the referee’s.

“They’re getting put under a massive amount of pressure from their own boss, and they don’t need coaches to be putting it on them either.”

McKenzie was annoyed by the officiating of South African referee Jaco Peyper at Westpac Stadium yesterday, particularly when he failed to yellow card All Blacks players after continual infringements when a penalty advantage was being played.

“The one thing that interests me from a global perspective, once you’ve conceded a penalty, and the referee plays advantage, then it just seems to me to be open slather to concede another one and another one, because you’ve already conceded the first one,” McKenzie said before the Wallabies flew back to Australia on Sunday.

“You already know it’s going back anyway.

“For me, the point of an advantage is obviously to try to score.

“If in those situations you get more penalties, three penalties in the same sequence, what is that? What is it?

“Someone needs to work that bit out.

“I’m going to be asking the question of how that’s dealt with, because they are repeat infringements in the same sequence, played under advantage.

“I need to get my head around that, how that’s interpreted.”

But Hansen hit back in defence of Peyper.

“I thought he was consistent from woe to go throughout the whole game, and Ewen has just got to  he can do what he wants I guess,” Hansen said.

“I can sit here and pick holes from when they took us out, held on to us after the ball is played, and obstructed us in the midfield.

“I could do all of that, but I’m not going to.

“You just can’t blame referees for performances.

“They have got a hard enough job without us jumping on them. Our job is to support them, and have a quiet chat to them behind the scenes rather than hang our washing out in public.”

McKenzie said if nothing changes, he will be forced to copy the same tactics, which would lead to more negative rugby.

“It’s obvious, we will just do exactly the same as everyone else is doing,” McKenzie said.

“I just want to understand it. Teams are going to defend grimly in their own quarter, everyone does that, I just need to understand what the point of an advantage is.

“You don’t get many chances, you’ve got to take your points when they come along.”

McKenzie added: “If the initial infringement is a repeat infringement at the breakdown, and then they play advantage and there is an offside, the penalty then becomes the offside, we don’t go back to the repeat infringement which there might have been a yellow card warning on.

“And you maybe get three points but the game is ostensibly about scoring tries.”

Wallabies halfback Will Genia said the All Blacks were consistent exponents of the tactic to infringe repeatedly when defending their own line.

“It just seems like it’s a penalty advantage and the ball just gets killed, you get three points out of it, but you want to get seven points,” Genia said.

“It always just seems to be the case (against the All Blacks).”

But McKenzie said: “I’m not having a crack at the All Blacks at all, philosophically we need to understand  I’ve seen this in Super Rugby as well.”

All Blacks centre Ma’a Nonu was not cited for what appeared to be a shoulder charge on Wallabies prop James Slipper in the first half, but Hansen said: “At the time he had a bit of a stinger (shoulder injury), so he basically just turned his back on it.

“We’re not playing tiddlywinks, it’s a man’s game. I think sometimes we get a wee bit carried away.”

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