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All Blacks put Murray at risk: Gatland

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/06/2017

Gatland says he will speak to French referee Jerome Garces over concerns for the player's safety. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Gatland says he will speak to French referee Jerome Garces over concerns for the player's safety. The British and Irish Lions are demanding the All Blacks lay off halfback Conor Murray, who they say is the victim of intimidatory and dangerous play after he kicks the ball.

Lions coach Warren Gatland says he will speak to French referee Jerome Garces over concerns for the player's safety ahead of the second Test in Wellington on Saturday.

He believes South African whistler Jaco Peyper missed cynical play from All Blacks forwards around the edge of rucks during the home team's 30-15 first Test win in Auckland on Saturday.

They would either target the legs of Irish No.9 Murray, or push him after one of his trademark box kicks, Gatland said on Sunday.

"You feel for the player and it's a bit concerning that they're not trying to charge the kick down because they're nowhere near it. They're actually diving and hitting someone's leg," he said.

"After he kicked, he was pushed a few times and pushed to the ground.

"It's about protecting the players and making sure that they're safe."

When asked to expand, Gatland toned down his comments, saying he wasn't in New Zealand to "b---- and moan about the referee".

Match analysis from NZ Newswire noted Murray produced nine box kicks in the Test, including eight in the first half.

There was minimal contact after seven of the kicks.

One possible incidence of having his standing leg targeted came in the 10th minute, when flanker Jerome Kaino hit him low.

Another contentious moment came late in the first spell when lock Brodie Retallick pushed Murray to the ground after a kick, apparently injuring the Muster man's hand or wrist in the process.

In January, Murray hit out at the tactics used against him by Glasgow in a Champions Cup game. He accused players from the Scottish club of targeting his standing leg after kicks.

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