France forward Kevin Gourdon has called the All Blacks cheats and claims they are treated leniently by referees after they escaped punishment over a contentious incident in last week’s first Test.
Gourdon’s outburst, two days before the second Test in Wellington, follows World Rugby deciding not to hand out further punishment for a tackle in which wing Remy Grosso suffered two facial fractures during France’s 52-11 defeat.
All Blacks flanker Sam Cane was penalised on the field for a high shot on Grosso, while prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi escaped punishment for his role in the head-high collision with World Rugby saying his role fell “just short” of the red card threshold.
Gourdon said the All Blacks tended to get the rub of the green from referees “because they win all their games”.
“The All Blacks cheat, of course, but it’s certainly related to the fact they play good rugby… which has a positive effect on the referees,” added the flanker.
4:07 Highlights from Eden Park where New Zealand overturned a half-time deficit to thrash France 52-11.
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster dismissed the cheating allegations and denied the world champions and number one Test team received any favouritism from officials.
“I think if you look at the penalty counts (and) yellow cards last year, we were one of the top yellow-carded teams in the world so I’m not sure how this ‘soft on us’ comes to fruition,” he said.
Foster also reiterated that the All Blacks did not agree with the yellow card handed out to France lock Paul Gabrillagues last week for a tackle on Ryan Crotty.
“I think we’ve been pretty open and honest about how we interpreted last week,” said Foster.
“We thought they were a little bit unlucky with their yellow card; it was one of those marginal ones. Was it up there? Yes , it was. Was it significant? Probably not.”
“The question is: was it worthy of a yellow card? And, I guess, between a referee and an independent citing commissioner, they’ve said no. So we’ve just got to take the emotion out of it,” Foster said.
Immediately after the first Test, French coach Jacque Brunel described the double hit as “dangerous” and “illegal” but later softened his stance, saying the collision was probably accidental.
But World Rugby vice chairman Agustin Pichot attached the words “should be cited (in) my view” to a tweet showing video of the tackle, which has ended Grosso’s tour.