Hansen slams 'bitter' attacks on McCaw

2015-10-26 10:02
Richie McCaw (AP)

Weybridge - New Zealand captain Richie McCaw will always be at the centre of "bitter and twisted" controversy because some rivals do not want the rugby great to play, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.

Hansen defended McCaw who was at the centre of a social media storm after video images showed him apparently elbowing an opponent.

Other images quickly showed there was no contact and a World Rugby official confirmed on Sunday that the All Black legend would not be cited - ruling out any risk of McCaw missing Saturday's World Cup final against Australia.

"He's a man that draws a lot of attention because he's been a great player, probably the greatest player certainly who has played for the All Blacks and maybe in the history of the game," said Hansen.

"If he's not in your team he's a pain in the rear end so it goes that if you can't get him on the track let's get him off the track."

Hansen added: "There will be some people who are bitter and twisted about him. However, 99 percent of people in rugby, whilst he's not playing against him, like him.

"It's when we play certain teams that they get upset about him. He takes it in his stride and the team takes it in their stride."

The New Zealand coach was among the first to rubbish the reports that his player risked a World Rugby citation that could force him out of Saturday's final.

"There's nothing in it, so there's nothing to talk about," Hansen told a press conference the day after New Zealand's 20-18 win over South Africa.

Video images emerged after the fiercely-fought contest showing McCaw's elbow apparently striking Springbok flank Francois Louw.

Other images shown later made it look as though Louw was hit by McCaw's hip.

Louw had stitches in two wounds in his head but said he did not know how the injuries were caused. They were inflicted in a lineout.

Some media in New Zealand and Britain questioned whether the blow could lead to McCaw being cited ahead of next Saturday's World Cup final.

"It was kicked off by social media and I'm not a big fan of social media," said Hansen.

The All Blacks are bidding to become the first country to win three titles and the first team to defend their title.

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