England great bags and backs All Blacks

Jeremy Guscott...referees need to be tougher on All Blacks. Photo / Photosport David Wilkinson
Jeremy Guscott...referees need to be tougher on All Blacks. Photo / Photosport David Wilkinson

The All Blacks aren't thugs but referees need to be more vigilant in policing them, according to former England back Jeremy Guscott.

The elegant centre, who played 73 tests including eight for the Lions, believed the controversial Sam Cane tackle on Irish back Robbie Henshaw was illegal.

Henshaw was carried from the field in Dublin, and Cane penalised by South African referee Jaco Peyper. Cane and Malakai Fekitoa, who committed a clear high tackle on Simon Zebo, have been cited.

In his BBC column, Guscott said: "For me, what determined that was (worth) a yellow card was that it was shoulder first. His (Cane's) left arm seemed to be angled behind his shoulder and he hit Henshaw's head. Your view of how that decision went depended on what side of the equator you are on.

"New Zealand play everything at an incredible intensity. They understand the laws of the game, where the boundaries are and how the referee might react.They use it to their advantage.

"Referees need to look harder at New Zealand - their speed and intensity means the game moves so quickly, but they are canny. The All Blacks have to watch their high tackles - they have got a reputation for it and have had two players cited from Saturday - but for all that, you can't blame the players.

"I'm not one who thinks their players go out there to hurt anyone illegally, they are sportsmen and do their best. There is ferocity in everything they do and they take everything to the limit, but it is up to the referee to be better at seeing and penalising them."

- NZ Herald

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