Steve Hansen dismisses reports that he held a secret meeting with referee Romain Poite
“What a load of rubbish,” said the All Blacks coach
He said there’s no foundation to allegations Owen Franks eye-gouged Kane Douglas
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has denied an allegation from Australia that he had a secret meeting with referee Romain Poite before Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test.
Australia lodged an official complaint after their 29-9 defeat in Wellington, claiming Hansen and Poite met prior to the game which is not allowed according to World Rugby regulations.
Hansen refuted the claim on Sunday but did admit he caught up with assistant referee Jaco Peyper at the latter’s request to “review” incidents from the first Test in Sydney the week before of which Peyper was the referee.
“I’m a firm believer that we’re here to support the referees and help them. It’s a difficult game to ref so why wouldn’t you have the meeting?” Hansen told AAP.
“[But] we certainly didn’t have one with Romain Poite. We don’t meet the ref, haven’t done for about 18 to 24 months, because it’s just a waste of time.”
Under World Rugby rules, coaches are permitted to meet with referees before a match, but only if there are representatives from both teams present, or if one side is invited and declines the opportunity.
Hansen said it was “quite sad” the allegation was made and joked he was “shattered” by the implications.
As for Franks, Hansen said the fact Sanzaar had deemed there were no incidents from the match that warranted further review or sanction meant there wasn’t a lot to be said about that either.
“I’ve seen the footage and I agree with the independent person who said there’s nothing to answer for,” said Hansen.
“I mean you’ve got to be really, really careful until you see all the views and social media were the people who alerted everyone to it, so they certainly don’t all the views. There’s a process and that process has been followed and whoever the citing commissioner was has obviously seen all the angles and believes there’s nothing to answer for.
“In the same game you can go to two or three other lineouts where they’re driving and the same thing happens. It’s an unfortunate by-product, I think, of the mauling rules that we have, because the only way you can get there [to the ball] is through clambering over the top and then that creates a response.
“People try and pull them out of the way and they only thing they can use is the head area. We’ll look at that and try and make sure that we don’t go around that area because it creates a problem, but if there’s no case to answer, there’s no case to answer.”