Hansen dismisses more 'cheating' claims

Daniel Gilhooly

Steve Hansen has dismissed French complaints of foul play as the latest in a long history of cheating accusations against the All Blacks.

France coach Jacques Brunel was livid following his team's 52-11 loss to the world champions in the first Test at Eden Park on Saturday.

Winger Remy Grosso suffered a fractured skull in two places in an awkward tackle involving All Blacks forwards Sam Cane and Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

Inexperienced England referee Luke Pearce didn't consult the TMO to review whether further punishment was appropriate, just as he didn't seek a second opinion on a key ruling earlier in the second half.

A tense Test blew open when visiting lock Paul Gabrillagues was shown a yellow card for a relatively innocuous high tackle on New Zealand back Ryan Crotty.

Brunel believed Tu'ungafasi's shoulder to the head of early try-scorer Grosso warranted at least a yellow card.

Grosso is unlikely to play in the two remaining Tests, leaving the French bitter no All Blacks were held accountable.

"I think that the way he was done by the All Blacks pair was illegal," Brunel said, also lamenting the sanction that left his own team a player short.

"The yellow card was key. It was very hard to fight with the All Blacks after that."

Hansen could understand Brunel's frustration, believing Gabrillagues didn't deserve a yellow card.

However, he dismissed claims the Grosso incident warrants a citing.

"We have been called cheats for 100 years haven't we? If you keep winning people will find reasons I suppose," he said.

"(Former captain) Richie McCaw was (called) the biggest cheat ever. But he didn't cheat, he just played to the letter of the law."

Hansen believed the dynamics of the Grosso tackle were unfortunate

"When you get two guys coming in to make a tackle on one, things can change late and I think that is what happened.

"Sam made the tackle and Ofa ended up hitting him in the face with his shoulder accidentally."

Hansen said Pearce was too quick to make rulings off real time and would have been better served consulting his assistants in both incidents.