New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has supported All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen after the latter expressed concerns about how test rugby is officiated, urging World Rugby to take ownership.
Tew said in his post-board meeting conference call with media that he wasn’t surprised to hear complaints after June window riddled with controversial refereeing calls.
“If there’s a pleasing thing for me it’s that everything has erred on the side of player safety,” Tew said Monday.
“I agree with Steve that the situation is very fluid. We’ve got bigger, fitter and faster athletes involved with more collisions than ever before and we’re going to have to constantly be going back and looking at things.
“I understand the frustrations of some coaches. Steve is not the only one who has had a few words to say. World Rugby, at the rugby committee level, will continue to look at stuff and make changes we think are in the best interests of the game.”
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Tew also confirmed the All Blacks’ third test against France exceeded budgeted income despite falling “a few hundred [tickets] short” of being a sellout.
He also commented on the June series that took place across the ditch between Australia and Ireland.
“They had a great series and a sellout [in Sydney]. While their Super teams haven’t been performing as we would have wanted, the Wallabies are certainly back and interest in them was incredibly high, as it was with the All Blacks,” Tew said.
“Viewership numbers from Sky are very encouraging for this last series.
“Those predicting the demise of test rugby might just want to take a deep breath. Indications from June are very positive and the same can be said for the series in South Africa.”
The All Blacks will next assemble in August for the Rugby Championship. They kick off their campaign against Australia in Sydney on August 18, before hosting the side at Eden Park the next weekend.
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