Key Points:

The All Blacks refused publicly to put the boot into referee Wayne Barnes after Sunday's Scotland test but once again seem set to complain in writing to the International Rugby Board.

Assistant coach Steve Hansen confirmed he had spoken briefly to the IRB referees' boss Paddy O'Brien after the Edinburgh test and had relayed some of his impressions about Barnes but had stopped short of making a fuller critique.

"It was about a gut feeling and I would prefer to have a look at the game again and make sure when we talk about these things we are accurate," Hansen said.

Hansen donned his diplomatic shoes the day after the All Blacks' 32-6 victory as he danced around any issues with Barnes' rulings, but the impression was of further frustration with the referee who had been a central figure in the All Blacks' World Cup quarter-final defeat a year ago.

After revealing halfback Andy Ellis was heading home with a rib injury and would be replaced by Wellington's Alby Mathewson and discussing the test, Hansen was much more circumspect when asked; "did the referee have a good grasp on the game?"

However, his thoughts shone through the careful response.

"Well, if I said what I thought, I would probably get fined so there is no point in me saying that, is there?" Hansen responded.

"It is pointless me sitting here moaning about the ref. What we have to do is sort out our stuff, and if we get that right, then we can control that. We can't control what the referee does.

"We can talk to Paddy and give our views to Paddy. If he sees any issues he will work with his referee. That is the way it should be. It is a difficult game to referee and we have to accept that and we have to get our own house in order."

Hansen agreed that some of the rulings were tough on both teams but the All Blacks management had decided to keep their public silence, at least, and deal with any issues through the official channels.

Unlike this observer, Hansen thought his lock Anthony Boric had been "pretty bloody dumb" when he had been sinbinned for climbing though a ruck but he was not prepared to go into other details.

Scots midfielder Nick de Luca was yellow-carded in the fourth minute for interference with Hansen's only observation that time was irrelevant, the only issue was whether the referee thought his actions were cynical.

Both those incidents, according to these eyes, may have been penalties but nothing more, especially when Barnes watched players come round rucks and interfere at other times in the test but only penalised them.

There were other instances where forward passes or knock-ons went unchecked and for that, touch judges Dave Pearson and Paul Dix, must be equally culpable.

Barnes also seemed incapable of dealing with the scrum. The resets were painful, while he did little to rectify the issue even when the All Blacks were a man down and near their line.

As the questions continued about the officiating, Hansen continued to keep his counsel amid suggestions all referees needed assistance, but there was no hiding his concerns.

"I am a firm believer you don't wash your washing in the front yard, you put it in the backyard and the backyard is talking to Paddy so that is what we will do.

"There is no point in trying to bag somebody when that is not good for the game, it is not good for us and various referees you are frustrated with."

The issue has to be whether Barnes is good for the game. He may be adequate for most levels but at the very top of the international game where fitness, judgment and empathy also have to be of the highest quality from match officials, he does not seem to find his rhythm.

Barnes has been promoted quickly, has ruled in one World Cup already and is not yet 30. You wonder if he has been pushed too fast in the IRB's haste to encourage youthful officials.