War Of Words

All Blacks Coach, Steve Hansen and Lions Coach Warren Gatland.

All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen has blasted back at fellow Kiwi Warren Gatland, the Coach of the British Lions.

Lions coach Gatland accused the All Blacks of intentionally diving into Murray’s legs to hurt him rather than negate his box kicking, and said he would ask the second test referee Jerome Garces to be vigilant on illegal tactics.

The All Blacks beat the Lions 30-15 at Eden Park to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

In the leadup to the first test, Gatland claimed the world champions engaged in illegal scrummaging and blocking of runners chasing kicks.

“It’s predictable coming from Gatland — two weeks ago we cheated in the scrums, last week it was blocking, now we’re saying this,” Hansen told Radio Sport.

“I guess he might be a bit desperate or something. I don’t know why he would be saying it.”

Hansen denied there was a deliberate ploy to injure Murray.

“We are not intentionally trying to hurt anyone,” he said. It never will be (the way we play) as long as I’m involved with the All Blacks.

“It is really, really disappointing. We’re trying to charge the kick down and or tackle him.

None of the All Blacks were cautioned during the match but there was a huge chorus of boos from the mass of Lions fans in the eastern stand of the ground after Murray was knocked to the pitch and slow to get back up during the first half.

Hansen, however, said if there had been any foul play then his players would have been cited by disciplinary officials.

“It wasn’t in the game … there’s a guy watching for foul play all the time,” he said.

“If (the official) thought it, he would have indicated that to the referee.

“We want to play hard and fair and want teams to do the same to us. Then we will see who has the best skill sets and takes the opportunities in 80 minutes. Then it’s start again.”

All Blacks prop Wyatt Crockett acknowledges the All Blacks are trying to keep the pressure on Murray but was adament he wasn’t getting any special – or illegal – attention.

“We try and put a lot of pressure on every kicker. We try to force them to do a poor kick. We trying to get it so that we can attack off the poor kick.”

 

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