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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has a dig at Nigel Owens after 'festival' Barbarians game

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

There was a carnival atmosphere at Twickenham yesterday as an experimental All Blacks team beat the Barbarians 31-22 in an end-to-end encounter, with referee Nigel Owens predictably offering up a few quips during a match that was more fun than intense.

At one stage after a series of infringements, Owens told the players that 'if you're going to cheat, then cheat fair', but it seems that All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was hoping for the match to be a bit more serious ahead of his side's test schedule getting underway next weekend.

In the post-match press conference Hansen and out-half Beauden Barrett were asked what the 'banter' was like out on the field.

"Most of the banter came from Nigel," Hansen said.

The All Blacks coach was then informed that Owens had quipped during the game that he was scheduled to referee their game against Wales later this month, with Hansen then expanding on his viewpoint.

"It would've been good if he'd have reffed this one," Hansen said.

"It was a festival game, wasn’t it? And he is like the rest of us, you fall into the trap of getting caught in it.

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

"The crowd that come here want to see the rugby that was played. It's difficult for a player to get their head around that and it's also difficult for the ref."

New Zealand take on France next Saturday, before fixtures against Scotland and Wales complete their November tour.

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