All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has denied meeting referee Romain Poite before last night's 29-9 victory over Australia which wrapped up the Bledisloe Cup for another year and left Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika fuming about perceived injustices from the match officials.
Cheika accused Hansen of meeting Frenchman Poite during the week. The latest World Rugby regulations allow for pre-test meetings with the referee, but the opposition coach must also be notified and allowed to attend.
But Hansen, who joked this morning that he was "shattered" by Cheika's accusation, said the meeting simply didn't happen.
"It's quite sad that that's come out because it's not true," he said. "Unless you [mean I said], 'gidday Romain' in the morning because he stayed here at this hotel. I did have a meeting with [assistant referee] Jaco Peyper this week and talked to him at his request with Crono [All Blacks forwards coach Mike Cron] about some of the stuff that he had seen in our game.
"I'm a firm believer that we're here to support the referees. It's a difficult game to ref so why wouldn't you have a meeting, but I certainly didn't have a meeting with Romain Poite. We don't meet the ref, we haven't for 18 to 24 months because it's just a waste of time."
Asked where he thought Cheika, who was angry at Poite's performance in the test at Westpac Stadium, and particularly at his alleged refusal to engage with Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore, got the information, Hansen said: "I'm not sure, you'd have to ask Mr Cheika."
Asked if he was "upset"at the allegation, Hansen said: "Oh, terribly. Terribly. Shattered. We've got to be able to talk about something better than that, surely."
Another issue which may upset Cheika further is the fact that prop Owen Franks has escaped a citing from Sanzaar after footage appeared showing his hand coming into contact with lock Kane Douglas's face in a maul. Cheika suggested it was an obvious foul play incident.
"I've seen the footage and I agree with the independent person who said there is nothing to answer for," Hansen said. "You've got to be really really careful until you see all the views. Social media, I think, were the people who alerted everyone to it and they certainly don't get all the views.
"There's a process and that process has been followed.
"In the same game you can go to two or three lineouts where they're driving and the same thing happened. It's an unfortunate byproduct, I think, of mauling, because the only way you can get there is by clambering over the top and then that creates a response.
"People try to pull them out of the way and the only thing they can use is the head area. We'll look at that and try to ensure we don't go to that area because it creates a problem but if there's no case to answer there's no case to answer."
The test was notable for the aggravation between the two teams, but Hansen said there was little in it.
"There's a fine line between being in the zone and being too much in it or not enough in it.
"I think at times people might have been overly keen but it was all push and shove ... there's nothing really in it."