Steve Hansen has refused to criticise French referee Romain Poite for the official's controversial decision to change a penalty for the All Blacks in the final minute to a scrum but he is almost certain to raise it with the officials, as hollow and pointless as that might feel for him.

The position of the last-minute penalty - for Ken Owens' handling the ball in an offside position - was in front of the posts and almost certain to be converted by Beauden Barrett, but for Poite's decision to award a scrum instead.

Poite had agreed it was a penalty with his television match official George Ayoub before changing his mind. The rule is clear - catch the ball in an offside position, which Owens did, and it's a penalty offence.

Making it doubly hard to accept for the All Blacks was the fact centre Anton Lienert-Brown had claimed the ball and was heading for the try-line when Poite awarded his penalty. Had he played an advantage, Lienert-Brown would likely have scored by the posts.


"It's a tough game to ref," Hansen said. "We all know what happened, and we all know probably what should have happened but at the end of the day it's a game and as little kids we're taught to take the good with the bad and we have to do that.

"That's all I want to talk about... if you ask me questions about it I'm probably not going to go there. We're accepting of whatever decisions were made. Whether we agree with them or not, that's something we'll talk to the referees about."

When pressed, Hansen said: "It's a decision the refs made and we'll live with it."

The incident was very similar to what helped force Scotland's departure from the World Cup at the quarter-final stage two years ago. Referee Craig Joubert ruled in the final seconds at Twickenham that a Scotland player had handled the ball in an offside position and the Wallabies got through with the successful penalty.

However Poite wants to explain it, however, Owens caught the ball before realising what he had done and letting it go.

"Go back to the World Cup and the same thing happened and Scotland missed out," Hansen said. "They didn't use the video. This time they used the video and they had a pow-wow. Just play on and we would have scored by the posts, that would have been okay, I would have liked that.

"His initial instincts were it was a penalty and he spoke to his team of three and one of them suggested it was accidental.

"But if we had scored another try ourselves we wouldn't be having this major discussion. It wouldn't be such a problem."

For skipper Kieran Read, his 100th test finished in frustration and a shared trophy presentation with opposite Sam Warburton.

"It's a bit of a hollow feeling, I guess, a draw. We don't turn up on a Saturday and want to draw or lose we want to win.

"We'll look back on this series and think a draw is better than a loss but right now it's mixed. I'm proud of playing 100 tests but I'd probably swap all of them for a win to be honest.

Hansen said of Read: "It doesn't matter about the result, when you talk about the games he's thoroughly deserved every one of his 100 test matches."