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Steve Hansen: World Rugby need to take ownership

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has come out firing after another refereeing blunder has left its mark on a Test match.

Hansen on Sunday spoke about the influence the officials have on the match, and empathised with trans-Tasman rival Michael Cheika, who fumed after star fullback Israel Folau was yellow carded in his side’s series decider against Ireland.

Folau was sent off after an aerial challenge on Peter O’Mahony went awry, despite the incident looking accidental and caused by Irish lifter CJ Stander.

“I think it’s an area of the game that World Rugby need to take some ownership of and lead,” Hansen said.

“I keep saying the game is not black and white. It’s a fluid game which is going to have grey patches and you can’t rule on it as if it is black and white.

“It’s about intention and it’s pretty obvious when someone intends to hurt someone and it’s pretty obvious when they don’t. That’s my opinion. They [World Rugby] may see it differently. While we’re busy trying to eradicate concussions and stuff we’ve also got to acknowledge that it’s a contact sport and there’s going to be the odd accident in it.”

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The All Blacks’ opponents France had their own refereeing troubles last weekend, with fullback Benjamin Fall shown a red card – later rescinded – after an in-air collision with Beauden Barrett.

“Communication is the key to anything in life,” Hansen said when asked if his message would reach World Rugby. “I think they’ve set a precedent haven’t they when Angus did everything by the book with the French red card and then they let him [Fall] off. They’ve now got to look at that themselves.”

“They [referees] are doing their very best. I was talking to Gus [Gardner] last night and he is shrugging his shoulders saying ‘what can I do?’ And I said ‘you can’t do anything other than what you did’.”

Hansen also expressed his opinion on two questionable calls from last night’s Test against France.

In regards to referee Lacey obstructing play leading to a Damian McKenzie try, Hansen said “everyone’s telling us the referee’s cheating now because he’s helping us score tries. It’s just ridiculous. If anyone else had scored that try no one would have moaned about it at all.”

“If you look at it, the French halfback runs into the referee, the referee doesn’t run into him. Cheik’s not happy with how his game was reffed. It’s a difficult game to referee because it’s got faster, it’s really fluid, and we haven’t changed the way we ref,” he continued.

Another questionable call involved All Blacks debutant Shannon Frizell. The flanker was ruled held up by Australian TMO George Ayoub, who over-ruled an in-position Lacey.

“We’re saying there’s one guy controlling the game the whole time but he’s not because the TMO in our game last night, he had a lot to say,” Hansen said. “I heard the referee say ‘I saw a clear grounding’ but the try’s not awarded. So who is controlling the game?”

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Steve Hansen: World Rugby need to take ownership | RugbyPass