Gourdon, who started that game on the flank, also went on to say that the All Blacks are treated leniently by referees, due to the quality of their play on the pitch.
At a media conference on Thursday, Gourdon said the All Blacks “cheat, of course, but it’s certainly related to the fact they play good rugby…which has a positive effect on the referees.”
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World Rugby has been under significant heat following the tackle by Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi on Remy Grosso, a tackle which led to the Frenchman suffering a double fracture of his skull. Neither Cane nor Tu’ungafasi received a card on the pitch, although Cane was penalised for a high tackle.
Tu’ungafasi received a Citing Commissioner Warning for his role in the tackle, with it deemed “just short of” red card level, whilst the citing commissioner agreed with the on-field decision of just a penalty for Cane’s involvement.
With collisions to the head such a hot topic within rugby currently and several laws being amended to ensure stricter punishments for incidents, in the hopes of changing tackling behaviour in the long-term, this decision has been widely condemned.
France take on New Zealand in the second Test in Wellington on Saturday and it’s unlikely Gourdon’s comments will have gone unheard in the All Blacks’ dressing room.
Poking the bear is often not the best approach when facing New Zealand and Gourdon, who will start the game at N8, shouldn’t be surprised if he gets a little extra attention from the home side on Saturday.
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