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NZ born French prop latest to call out refereeing of All Blacks

Atonio during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and France at Eden Park on June 9, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Giant French prop Uini Atonio has become the latest player to slam how the All Blacks are refereed.


The 150kg New Zealand raised prop says that despite World Rugby exonerating teammate Benjamin Fall, the French are still reeling from the decision.

Born in Timaru, Atonio – who plays his club rugby for La Rochelle – says the team fully expect referees to err on the side of the men in black.

“It was always going to be like that. He didn’t do it intentionally. If Beauden Barrett jumped up and he (Fall) jumped up and tackled him, then yes, of course, it’s a red card, that’s fair.

“But he had his eyes on the ball the whole time, he never stopped looking at the ball and at worst it was a yellow card.

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“The week before Ofa Tu’ungafasi put a shoulder to a head and that should have been a red card.

“We didn’t say anything, we let it go, we’re not getting refereed the same way.

“I don’t want to be a cry baby or anything, but it’s just not fair.


“It’s always going to be like that because the All Blacks are the best and if you want to beat them, then you have to beat them 15 against 16, that’s the only way we can beat them.”

And Atonio is more than familiar with New Zealand rugby. The giant prop attended Wesley College before entering Counties Manukau rugby academy.

“In rugby you win some, you lose some. We don’t mind losing, if we’re losing to a better team then that’s all right and of course the All Blacks are the best in the world and everyone wants to come here and win against them.

“But if we’re not even getting a little bit of the bounce of the ball, then it’s really tough.”

The tighthead represented Samoa Under 20s at the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship in Japan and joined the Counties Manukau ITM Cup squad in 2010, before eventually traveling to France.

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Jon 5 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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