Rugby: Referee made a mistake but laws need to be looked at, says All Blacks' Hansen

Sports Sunday 09/July/2017 14:15 PM
By: Times News Service
Rugby: Referee made a mistake but laws need to be looked at, says All Blacks' Hansen

Auckland: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen maintains Romain Poite made a mistake in overturning a late penalty against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday but said there were other key decisions against his team that should prompt World Rugby to re-examine the laws of the game.
With the score tied at 15-15 and less than two minutes remaining in the third Test at Eden Park, referee Poite initially awarded the All Blacks a penalty when he deemed Lions' replacement hooker Ken Owens was offside when one of his own players dropped a kickoff into his hands.
The penalty, had it stood, would have given Beauden Barrett a routine kick at goal to win both win the match and clinch the three-match series.
Poite, however, decided to discuss the decision with his assistants and the television official and eventually ruled that Owens was accidentally offside. The referee awarded a scrum to the All Blacks instead of a penalty and the Lions were able to hold off a late New Zealand surge as the series ended 1-1.
Hansen said the incident, and two other important decisions that had gone against this side in the series, showed the game's laws were far too complicated.
"It's a really complicated game," Hansen told reporters on Sunday. "(The referee is thinking) 'do I go there, or do I go there? When it should be 'is it? Or isn't it?'
"When we have things that have multiple interpretations we will have human error."
The All Blacks coach reiterated that Poite's decision to overturn his original penalty was a simple case of the Frenchman overthinking the decision.
"If you look at Romain's instincts it was a penalty," Hansen said. "If he had trusted his instincts then he would've made the right decision.
"But he didn't and he got caught up in overthinking it and he made a mistake. You just have to accept it, as much as it can be frustrating and annoying."
'Cynical people'
Hansen also suggested Lions scrumhalf Rhys Webb had drawn a cynical penalty, which Owen Farrell kicked to level the scores at 15-15. Wayne Crockett had been trapped in the bottom of a ruck when Webb passed the ball straight into the prone prop, earning the penalty.
"He was trapped in the ruck and then their halfback threw the ball at him. He had no influence on that," Hansen said.
"The halfback could have passed it but he chose to pass it into him. You could say that's cynical, but it's there. The law says it's a penalty.
"We have to make it pretty clear cut that we don't reward that stuff."
Hansen said a penalty given against prop Charlie Faumuina in the second Test in Wellington should also be of concern to rugby's governing body.
Faumuina was penalised for tackling Kyle Sinckler in the air, though Sinckler had jumped to catch a poor pass and was then accidentally upended by the All Blacks prop.
Farrell slotted the resulting penalty that gave the Lions a 24-21 victory.
"Are you allowed to tackle someone who is jumping in the air? No," Hansen said. "When they wrote that law do you think it (the Faumuina incident) is what they were thinking at the time? Probably not.
"So we need World Rugby to look at that because the cynical people, every time they want a penalty, they'll just jump into the air and the game doesn't need that."