All Blacks 'got away with law-bending' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All Blacks 'got away with law-bending'

By Daniel Gilhooly 19/06/2009 03:51:06 PM Comments (0)

The All Blacks and France swam against the natural order of rugby etiquette when the subject of law-bending was raised ahead of Saturday's second Test in Wellington.

French coach Marc Lievremont believed New Zealand got away with murder at the breakdown for a large period of last week's first Test in Dunedin which the tourists won 27-22.

Normally it is the losing team making such claims, but All Blacks counterpart Graham Henry had nothing but praise for Irish referee George Clancy.

Lievremont suggested the fact that second Test whistler Marius Jonker was from South Africa could also play out in the All Blacks' favour.

Jonker would be more used to the fast-paced Experimental Law Variations of the Super 14 rather than the unified rules now introduced which reduce the number of free kicks and encourage more mauls. France based last week's win on their powerful driving play.

"Last week Mr Clancy refereed very well, according to the northern rules in the first half," Lievremont said.

"In the second half, he was more tolerant towards the All Blacks, especially in the rucks when they came from the side sometimes or even dived."

Lievremont had wanted to meet Clancy last week but the opportunity never arose.

Upon hearing that Henry had arranged a meeting with Jonker, Lievremont claimed he should have been invited under an International Rugby Board (IRB) regulation that deemed both coaches must be present for such conversations.

However, that rule has been changed, something a French spokesman later said Lievremont had acknowledged. The visiting coach was to meet Jonker on Friday afternoon.

Asked what points he had hoped to raise at an all-in meeting, Lievremont replied: "Mainly to listen to what Graham Henry will talk about".

While he claimed to have no problem with Clancy's performance, Henry said he wanted to sound Jonker out on his approach to controlling the offside line.

"What's happening at the tackle is important, just making sure we're on the same page going into the game," Henry said.

"Whether he's got some advice to us that I can pass onto the guys about how he's going to look at it.

"If there is a little idiosyncrasy that Marius has, we just need to talk to him about it."

The French rush defence was highly effective at Carisbrook while halfback Jimmy Cowan had all sorts of problem dealing with defenders around the fringe of the breakdown.

Asked if touch judges should play a role in ruling on offsides, Henry replied: "That would be helpful."

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