Steve Hansen has expressed his disappointment with the World Cup final between the Boks and All Blacks, particularly regarding the influence of the television match official.
Speaking on the latest episode of Sky Sports NZ’s ‘The Breakdown’, Hansen felt that the spectacle of the game was compromised by excessive use of video replays and officiating delays, not attributing blame to referee Wayne Barnes but rather the system itself.
The former All Blacks coach advocated for the removal of the TMO from rugby, suggesting that it should only be consulted when the referee requires input on try decisions, thus returning more control to the on-field official.
“As a game it could’ve gone either way, there were plenty of opportunities for both teams, and South Africa have got to be credited for their efforts, as do the All Blacks,” he said.
“[But] as a spectacle I was extremely disappointed. I know Wayne Barnes is coping a lot of flak but he’s not the problem.
“The problem is the way that we’re controlling the game. It’s been refereed in replay, and for me it’s time to sack the TMO. Get rid of it out of our game other than when the referee asks if there’s any reason why I cannot award this try or is there any reason why I should award this try.
“Gone are the days when the referee has control of the game, and we’re getting a stop-start, no flow … fans are getting really sick of it and leaving in droves. And I don’t think the referee is getting a fair crack.”
Hansen also criticised the increasing use of red cards in the sport, particularly in situations where contact is unintentional. He cited All Blacks skipper Sam Cane’s red card in the final, which resulted from a dangerous hit on Springbok centre Jesse Kriel.
According to the World Cup-winning coach, rugby is inherently a contact sport, and players may not always have the opportunity to adjust their actions instantaneously.
“And then we’ve got this red card stuff,” he said. “I know and understand and appreciate that we’ve got to look after our athletes.
“But our game is a contact sport game and when you’ve got a player in the best form of his life, Sam Cane, saying to you ‘I called out for a late shift and I couldn’t adjus’t, and then you’ve got [Siya] Kolisi and the same thing happened to him … two great players at the very best of their game and can’t adjust in time to something that happens just like that, you’re going to have contact. Unintentional contact.
“To give that a red card, in my humble opinion, is just ridiculous.”
Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP