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Hansen unhappy with penalty calls

New Zealand assistant coach Steve Hansen has laid the blame for the number of penalties conceded at the scrum by the All Blacks during their end-of-year tour firmly at the door of the refereeing fraternity.

Saturday's 37-25 success over Wales at the Millennium Stadium handed the favourites for next year's World Cup a third Grand Slam of the Home Unions in six seasons, but they were on the end of a 17-8 hiding in terms of the penalties dished out by Irish official Alan Lewis, with several of those coming at the set-piece.

The former Wales boss said: "We are very frustrated with the officiating and we are going to have to go away and try and move on."

When asked for a possible solution to the problem, he said: "The answer is don't put pressure on, just let them win their ball. We will stop trying to put pressure on the opposition scrum so they stay up. We want to put pressure on them but if they fall over all the time we're getting penalised.

"We are not getting penalised on our own ball, it's only when we put pressure on the opposition's ball.

"We've tried talking to the referees, we have tried everything, but we're not making any headway. We're going to have to use the summer months to put our heads together and come up with a solution."

Hansen was particularly critical of Lewis for awarding a penalty against the tourists for collapsing a scrum, which Stephen Jones kicked to put Wales back within range of a famous win at just 23-18 down with 10 minutes to go.

New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu could clearly be seen suggesting to Lewis that the soft Millennium Stadium turf, which cut up badly, had caused him to lose his footing.

And Hansen said: "You could see the turf turned up, Keven obviously felt they slipped over but Alan Lewis gave a penalty. That's when you get frustrated with the officiating. Maybe a little common sense would have been good."

Head coach Graham Henry shared Hansen's frustration with Lewis's display, adding: "I thought we struggled with the ref, we did not get the bounce of the ball with him which makes it difficult. To try and scrum well on that track was difficult for both sides and I think there needed to be some sensitivity there."


From Belfast Telegraph