Cape Town - A former top referee claims there is subconscious leniency towards the All Blacks by officials.
Englishman Rob Debney, who was a professional referee for 12 years from 1999-2011, expressed his views via a column for The Times.
Debney analysed the performance of his compatriot, Luke Pearce, who copped criticism for his handling of New Zealand’s 52-11 win over France in Auckland last weekend.
READ: All Blacks branded cheats after France card row
Debney believes referees are scrutinised more closely when they are in charge of a match involving the world champions and No 1-ranked team.
"Once again the conversation is being dominated by claims that New Zealand always seem to get away with murder," Debney wrote in the English publication.
“If I had an answer as to why there appears to be a leniency towards them, I would be a professor in psychology, but it exists on a subconscious level. The accountability for taking a decision against them, the scrutiny it comes under compared with other teams, is incredible."
Debney said Pearce had "a really good game" but got the two decisions dominating the headlines wrong.
He believes the referee should have sent off All Blacks replacement prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi for using a shoulder in a double tackle on Remy Grosso with flanker Sam Cane that left the France wing hospitalised with two facial fractures.
"Yes, Grosso was falling in the collision but the onus is on the referee to make his ruling based on the outcome of an incident. Intent is not material in the decision. Did Tu'ungafasi's shoulder connect with Grosso's head? Yes. Red card," wrote Debney.
Debney also said France lock Paul Garillagues should not have been sin-binned for his tackle on Ryan Crotty "that barely warranted a penalty".
The yellow card opened the floodgates for the All Blacks, who trailed 11-8 at half-time.
"The France lock executed a 'seatbelt tackle', wrapping one arm over Crotty's shoulder and around his torso to halt the All Blacks centre, but his arm was nowhere near Crotty's neck. Pearce would have realised that, had he taken more time and checked the replay."
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