Cape Town - The perception that the All Blacks get preferential treatment by referees is inaccurate, a New Zealand scribe claims.
Prop Owen Franks was in the news this week after being accused of allegedly eye-gouging Wallaby Kane Douglas in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington.
Franks escaped punishment from SANZAAR, which prompted many to claim the All Blacks get preferential treatment.
The All Blacks have won 70 of their last 75 Tests and according to Sam Hewat, a columnist for the NZ Herald, the statistics show the Kiwis are far from favoured.
Hewat wrote: “Since Steve Hansen took over the All Blacks in 2012 they've played 59 tests. 2012 was also the last time they received a suspension courtesy of Andrew Hore.
"In those 59 tests, they have been penalised 47 more times than their opponents, the count being 616 to 569. Similarly, they received the most yellow cards, 28 to 22. In 35 of the 59 games played, the All Blacks have had an equal or higher penalty count."
Hewat believes it's a myth that the All Blacks get favoured by referees, while he also insists they're not a dirty team.
"Looking at the All Blacks biggest competitors since 2012, here's how the suspension count looks; Argentina - 3, Australia - 2, England - 0, France - 1, Ireland - 3, South Africa - 2.
"This doesn't include suspensions off the field, or suspensions handed out at Super Rugby or club level. So it's true, the All Blacks get suspended less than their rivals.
"However, head back to the yellow cards.
"Of all the yellow cards the All Blacks have received since 2012, only two have come from 'foul play.' One was Adam Thomson in 2012 when he rucked the head of a Scottish player. The other was Ben Franks in 2014 for a swinging arm.
"Contrast that to the All Blacks rivals, who have less yellow cards but more suspensions. Of their cards, four have come from "foul play". They include punches, elbows to the face, and head butts. Coupled with that, only one of the suspensions mentioned above came from an All Blacks game."
READ the full column on the NZ Herald website