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Luke Pearse's refereeing decisions underfire


Fallout in New Zealand as Luke Pearse's refereeing decisions come underfire

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen admitted France lock Paul Gabrillagues did not deserve a yellow card for a high tackle in the second half as the All Blacks defeated Les Bleus 52-11 in Auckland. 

France led 11-8 at the break, but while Gabrillagues was sidelined, the All Blacks asserted their dominance and scored two tries to set them on their way to victory, before a late flurry saw them pull clear.

The focus remained on referee Luke Pearce though, after another contentious decision in the second half went in favour of the All Blacks, as Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi both caught Remy Grosso with high tackles and no action was taken against them.

Cane caught the wing with a swinging arm and Tu’ungafasi appeared to clash heads with Grosso, before the Frenchman had to subsequently be taken from the field and to hospital.

Hansen did not agree with Pearce’s decision on Gabrillagues’ yellow card, but was happy with how his team performed, especially as they were behind at the break.

“It was high but I don’t think it was a yellow card personally, but I’m not the ref,” he said.

“Ten minutes before half-time we started to understand what we had to do, which was look after the football and go forward and try to go through them a wee bit, rather than try to go around them.

“Then we quietly talked amongst ourselves and continued to want to do that, and had a plan on how we were going to do that. And slowly we picked them apart.”

France coach Jacques Brunel was not happy with some of the officials’ decisions, but said that his team struggled to match the All Blacks, especially when they were a man down.

“The injury of Remy Grosso is quite serious,” he said in a post-match interview. 

“I think that the way he was done by the All Blacks pair was illegal.

“The first half was good, in the second half the yellow card was key.

“It was very hard to fight with the All Blacks after that. Yellow card or not yellow card, we had to deal with it.”

The second Test is in Wellington on June 16.

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Fallout in New Zealand as Luke Pearse's refereeing decisions come underfire
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