Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Hansen: "You've got to be bigger than that, haven't you?"

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after the Bledisloe test match between the All Blacks and Australia. Photo / Brett Phibbs
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after the Bledisloe test match between the All Blacks and Australia. Photo / Brett Phibbs

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has insisted his side respect the Wallabies and denied alleging that Michael Cheika or his team had anything to do with planting the listening device found in the team's hotel in Sydney in August.

Hansen, who held his post-match press conference following the increasingly-fraught one featuring Cheika and skipper Stephen Moore, appeared frustrated the Eden Park test had been "hijacked" by the various issues raised by Cheika.

Told that the Cheika suggested the All Blacks perhaps didn't respect the Wallabies, Hansen said: "That's rubbish. We respect them immensely. What he's got to remember is that, just because over the years there's a fierce competition and things happen, it doesn't mean you don't respect them. Our guys respect them a lot - we want to war with these guys - so at what point is winning meaning you're not respecting them?"

Cheika and Moore were also extremely annoyed at the "disrespect" shown by the New Zealand Herald in printing a cartoon of Cheika in a clown suit on the day of the test, something Hansen said his Wallabies counterpart shouldn't be too upset about.

"You've got to be bigger than that, haven't you?" Hansen said. "I've been dressed up as a clown myself. You don't want to take it to heart, otherwise it will break you. We've got no control over what the media do.

"You've just got to be careful you don't take it too seriously. He's probably a little upset and just leave it at that."

Hansen added: "This conference tonight seems to have been hijacked by something that's really got nothing to do with rugby and someone who's feeling a little big aggrieved by something you guys have done - making him be a clown."

Hansen said of the bugging device issue: "All the pieces of material I've read about the bugging, I don't think anyone was accused. We didn't have any idea who did it. Was he feeling bad about that? We haven't accused anyone of the bugging.

"We haven't heard anything," he added. "It's not an issue, the bugging thing. We found a bug and in the end handed it over to the police because we found out it was the thing to do and left it with them. We don't know who's done it and don't really care who's done it. We've let it go and moved on."

Yet another controversial issue was Henry Speight's try being disallowed following Dane Haylett-Petty's shoulder charge on Julian Savea, but Hansen said that decision was clear-cut.

"Did he change his ground and did he drop his shoulder into [Julian Savea]? Yes, is that allowed? No. Unfortunately, that's the way it was.

"If you look at the one Dane Coles got [potential penalty try], Foley was just about tackling him. Swings and roundabouts. He got pulled up for one and let go with one. That's what rugby is about. Sometimes decisions don't go your way and you can't get all sulky about it. You've just got to man up and say that's what's happened.

"It's a hard game to ref and some days you get some things right and some days you don't.

"You've just got to accept what happens on the park and leave it there. And go away say what do we have to do to get better. That's what we do every week. We're never satisfied with what we've done. We know sometimes the rub of the green doesn't go our way.

"Was it critical? Well, yeah, the try would have been critical, there's no doubt about that but it wasn't awarded because the referee felt that the laws had been broken, and he's the sole judge."

Apart from all that, Hansen said, seven tries were scored, a world record was set, and plenty of good rugby was played.

"Don't lose sight of that when you put your fingers on the typewriter," he said.

- NZ Herald

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