Rugby

All Blacks Head Coach Had Some Rare Criticism Of Nigel Owens

All Blacks Head Coach Had Some Rare Criticism Of Nigel Owens

The All Blacks beat the Barbarians 31-22 at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon. It was a game which saw the Barbarians take a 12-point lead at one stage in the opening 40 minutes. The All Blacks, as regularly occurs, overpowered their opposition in the second half.

Speaking after the game, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said that he thought his young team got caught up in the 'festival' atmosphere that comes with a game featuring the BaaBaas.

It was not just his side which Hansen felt was affected by the occasion - he thought the same of referee Nigel Owens.

"Most of the banter came from Nigel, I reckon," said Hansen in the post-match press conference.

A reporter followed up Hansen's statement by saying he thought the best line from Owens was when he told Kieran Read, acting as a waterboy for yesterday's game, that he was going to be officiating the test match between the All Blacks and Wales later this month.

"It would have been good if he'd reffed this one," Hansen pointedly quipped in response.

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Hansen suggested that Owens was not as focussed on Saturday as he should have been.

It was a festival game, wasn't it? He's like the rest of us, you fall into the trap of getting caught up in it.

He did a good job - I'm not saying he didn't - but there's no doubt in my mind he wasn't as focused as he would have been if it was a test match.

The crowd that came here want to see the rugby that was played, they want to see tries, hence why they clapped and then booed when the try under the post wasn't awarded.

It's difficult for a player to get their head around that and it's also difficult for the ref.

Watch: Barbarians Score Unorthodox, Brilliant Try Against All Blacks

PJ Browne
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