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Hansen dismisses Wallabies ref accusations

NZN 28/08/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Australian accusations of a secret meeting with the Bledisloe Cup Test referee are wide of the mark.

But he can understand the claims from Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika, describing them as those of a desperate foe who has been backed into the corner after a second successive heavy defeat.

Cheika hogged the headlines in the fallout of Australia's 29-9 loss in Wellington on Saturday, launching a multi-layered critique of match officials.

He claimed the Australian Rugby Union has filed an official complaint because Hansen and French referee Romain Poite had met in the days leading up to the Test. That would have been in contravention of World Rugby rules, as the other team should have been alerted to the meeting.

However, Hansen said on Sunday he hadn't met Poite.

"It's quite sad that that's come out because it's not true," he said.

"We don't meet the ref, haven't done for 18-24 months, because it's just a waste of time."

Hansen conceded that he and scrum coach Mike Cron had met South African whistler Jaco Peyper, who controlled last week's Test in Sydney, and was an assistant in Wellington.

That meeting had been called by Peyper, to discuss the Sydney Test which New Zealand won 42-8, Hansen said.

The two coaches shook hands at a post-match function.

Hansen says his relationship with the man who usurped him as World Rugby's coach of the year in 2015 - despite the All Blacks defending their World Cup crown - is cordial.

He can understand where his rival's angst is coming from.

"You've got two fierce competitors and one of them's going through a tough time," he said.

"They've just lost six games in a row and I can only imagine what we'd be like in that situation."

However, Hansen says criticism of match officials needs to be consistent.

He took a mild dig at Cheika by pointing out that the Wallabies coach was silent when a contentious decision went in Australia's favour to decide last year's quarter-final win over Scotland.

Cheika's main beef with Poite was that he didn't take time to listen to the concerns of Australian captain Stephen Moore.

Hansen says Moore, who began the game by questioning a number of rulings, needs to ask himself why he was later ignored by Poite.

"If you listen to the commentary, you've got to pick your moments.

"The best captains in the world try to pick their moments. They don't try to talk to (the referee) about everything."

Hansen says the Wallabies' low stocks also explained their niggly on-field approach.

He suggested they had been too passive in Sydney but then over-reacted with aggression that may have taken some of their focus away from the game plan.

"You've got one team who are trying to prove a point not only to themselves but to their country, that they actually are proud men who want to wear their Wallaby jersey.

"They gave it everything they had and, at times, maybe pushed it."

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