Rugby Championship

McKenzie upset at NZ 'spoiling'

2013-08-25 18:17
Ewen McKenzie (Getty Images)

Wellington - Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has expressed frustration at the way advantage laws are being applied when asked whether he felt the All Blacks were manipulating the rules to stall try-scoring opportunities.

During Saturday's Rugby Championship clash in Wellington, New Zealand were forced to soak up a furious start by a fired-up Australia side before going on to retain the Bledisloe Cup for an 11th successive year with a 27-16 victory.

On several occasions in the opening onslaught, South African referee Jaco Peyper had been playing a penalty advantage to the Wallabies and the All Blacks infringed again to halt proceedings as Australia pressed near the New Zealand line.

For all of their possession and territory, the Wallabies were restricted to a brace of Christian Lealiifano penalties before the All Blacks struck back with 15 points in the final 15 minutes of the first half that effectively sealed the result.

When asked during a post-match news conference on Sunday whether he felt the All Blacks had been content to offend again in penalty advantage situations in the opening 30 minutes, McKenzie said the issue could not be confined to one game.

"That's a broader philosophical discussion that applies to everyone," McKenzie told reporters.

"Once you have conceded a penalty and the referee plays advantage then it just seems to me to be open slather to concede another because you already know that it's going back anyway.

"Where it becomes a problem is the initial infringement. If the initial infringement is a repeated one at the breakdown then they (referees) play advantage and (the next) penalty is offside the penalty becomes the offside and they don't go back to the original penalty, which might have been a yellow card.

"So you get the penalty and you might get three points, but the game is ostensibly about scoring tries."

McKenzie re-emphasised that the problem was a global one and the Wallabies were also culpable but his observations no doubt had some sub-text related to Saturday's game and also in his desire for referees and the International Rugby Board (IRB) to address the situation.

The Australia coach was also critical of Peyper's decision not to refer a potential Stephen Moore try to the television official and his failure to yellow card Kieran Read for a professional foul or Ma'a Nonu for a shoulder charge.

When presented with McKenzie's views on how the game had panned out a day earlier, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen offered a forthright response.

"He needs to be careful in how far he wants to take it," Hansen told reporters around 90 minutes after McKenzie had addressed the media.

"Usually you're better to play the game and get on with it. You can't blame the ref," he added.

"The hardest job on the field at the moment is the referee's. They're put under massive amount of pressure from their own boss and they don't need it from coaches.

"They just need to be consistent and I thought he was consistent for the whole game.

"It is what it is and you just have to take it on the chin if that's why they think they lost the game."

Hansen also said he could identify several incidents during the game where the Wallabies were not penalised but stopped short of highlighting particular cases.

"I can sit here and pick holes in how they took us out, how they held us back when the ball was played, how they obstructed us in the midfield," he said.

"I could do all of that but I'm not going to."


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