Monday 18 December 2017

'Don't make the issue about a tackle' - Steve Hansen looking to focus on third test after costly red card

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 01: Steve Hansen the head coach of the All Blacks looks on during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Westpac Stadium on July 1, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 01: Steve Hansen the head coach of the All Blacks looks on during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Westpac Stadium on July 1, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Steve Hansen admitted that the Lions were the better team in the second test against the All Blacks but bristled at questions about Sonny Bill Williams' controversial red card.

The centre saw red after the game's first quarter, which allowed Warren Gatland's side to ultimately fight back from nine points down to win 24-21.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, All Blacks coach Hansen praised his side's efforts with a man down while congratulating the Lions.

"I'm not stunned, I've always said they're a very good side and we didn't help ourselves by losing a player," Hansen said.

"Whilst I'm very proud of our team for how they hung in with 14 men you've got to take your hat off and say well done to the Lions."

Graeme Simmons then probed Hansen twice on whether he thought Williams deserved to see red for his shoulder charge on Anthony Watson, with the head coach unwilling to bite on the question.

"He [the referee] made the call so whether he got it right or wrong is irrelevant," Hansen said.

"I've always said you've got to go with what he decides. Don't make the issue about a tackle, what we should be doing from this point on is looking at how we played and how they played and the Lions deserved the win."

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