24 Jun 2018

World Rugby lacking leadership: Hansen

4:01 pm on 24 June 2018

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has launched a broadside at World Rugby following separate test series in New Zealand and Australia marred by refereeing confusion.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Photo: Photosport

Hansen expressed empathy with Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika, who unleashed frustration at match officials following the series-deciding 20-16 loss to Ireland in Sydney.

At the heart of Cheika's concerns was the inconsistency of how laws are being interpreted.

Hansen reiterated those views as referees became the talking point after each of the All Blacks' three test wins against France.

He says the sport is being ravaged by uncertainty for players, coaches and spectators and has demanded World Rugby start listening.

Rugby, he said, is changing at a speed that is making parts of the law book redundant.

"It's an area of the game that World Rugby needs to take some ownership of and lead," Hansen said.

"You've got Cheiks not happy with how his game is reffed too. It's got faster, it's got really fluid but we haven't really changed the way we ref.

"It has got to a point where we have got to do something because it is starting to affect the game."

Hansen has challenged rugby's officiating in the past but has found change almost impossible to achieve.

Hansen said he and other leading coaches got nowhere when they took a proposal to World Rugby five years ago to introduce a challenge system.

Under that suggestion, coaches would be allowed two challenges if they disagreed with rulings, similar to cricket's on-field model for captains.

Hansen said the referees themselves are becoming confused.

He said Australian whistler Angus Gardner followed the letter of the law when sending off French fullback Benjamin Fall for his high ball challenge in the second test, but World Rugby later said Gardner got the call wrong.

"I was talking to Gus (Gardner) and he is shrugging his shoulders (saying) 'what do I do?'," Hansen said.

"I said 'well, you can't do anything other than what you did'.

"World Rugby now have to go away and have a look at it themselves. Common sense should surely prevail."