Quinn stands by his gouging claims

By Hayley Hannan, Daniel Richardson, NZ Herald staff

In this screenshot from the World Cup final broadcast, All Black captain Richie McCaw can be seen reacting to a possible eye gouge during the game.
In this screenshot from the World Cup final broadcast, All Black captain Richie McCaw can be seen reacting to a possible eye gouge during the game.

Rugby commentator Keith Quinn is standing by his assertion that All Blacks captain Richie McCaw was eye-gouged during the latter stages of Sunday's Rugby World Cup final.

The legendary caller, who was part of Maori Television's presentation team for the final, told Radio New Zealand this morning he believed McCaw was eye-gouged and a source close to the All Blacks confirmed it.

"The only video that I've seen is the same as what you could see if you were watching match coverage. But I made the remark it looked like eye-gouging yesterday in a social situation and had confirmation from a source, which I'm saying is close to the New Zealand team, that eye-gouging took place.

"Then this morning when I went on National Radio I just said more or less in a longer version what I've said to you.''

The New Zealand Rugby Union declined to comment on the alleged incident, the French team didn't answer calls and the IRB confirmed the official citing period from the game was over and they had received no complaints.

"I understand no-one's been cited from the game,'' Quinn said.

"So, maybe that does or doesn't explain how [the All Blacks] feel. Maybe they just look at the victory as the most important thing and they're worrying about too many other things.''

Video evidence of the ruck in question doesn't provide any conclusive evidence that gouging took place, although McCaw brushed his eye when he got up in the 77th minute and appeared groggy.

Quinn suggested the alleged incident could have been the reason behind the players not embracing after the final whistle.

"There was no great affection between the players was there?''

Quinn named French captain and man of the match Thierry Dusautoir as being close to the action when the incident was alleged to have occurred.

"Well I thought, Dusautoir, [IRB] player of the year, he was right there. You can't see whether he's involved but he's right there and he made no gesture of apology and anything, or concern to McCaw. So there you go, I don't know.''

Asked if Quinn's source close to the All Blacks was reliable he said: "Absolutely, mate.''

Earlier in the game McCaw's knee made contact with French first-five Morgan Parra's head in a tackle, but Quinn wouldn't be drawn on whether the gouging was payback for McCaw being responsible for Parra leaving the field following the head knock.

"I've no idea about that one. The bit I'm concerned about was the eye-gouging late in the game. It's got no connection, you can draw your own conclusions about that particular incident.''

The New Zealand Rugby Union are refusing to deny claims of a French eye-gouging.

The NZRU declined to comment on the alleged gouge while the French team didn't return calls. The IRB confirmed the citing period is over for the game, which means it is unlikely to be taken any further.

Video evidence of the ruck in which the incident allegedly took place shows fellow All Black forward Kieran Read remonstrating with referee Craig Joubert and a touch judge over the treatment dished out to McCaw.

"There was an incident late in the World Cup final (about) which more detail may emerge. He was very close to an incident in the ruck in which there was an attempt to eye-gouge the New Zealand captain Richie McCaw," he told Radio New Zealand.

"It was clearly seen on TV. McCaw needed attention from medical staff."

He thought the incident explained why New Zealand and French players didn't embrace at the end of the game, and why there was little or no mention about the French team in the speeches after the final.

Mr Quinn is calling for more information about the alleged incident

"I think more needs to be investigated about the incident. The illustrious awarded player of the year surely involves elements of fair play."

Former All Black captain Stu Wilson said more details would emerge if the alleged incident happened but Dusautoir was a worthy winner of the player of the year award.

"This incident, if there is an incident, and there's merit in bringing it up, will surface and then he'll get banged for it," he told Radio New Zealand.

"But you can't take that one incident into the award which was taken over a season."

- APNZ

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