The short time that Steve Hansen has had to digest a refereeing decision which had a major bearing on his All Blacks' side drawing, rather than winning, the test series against the Lions, hasn't made it any more palatable.

Frenchman Romain Poite clearly made a series of mistakes in that final minute - the major one being to change his penalty in front of the posts for the All Blacks in the final minute to a scrum.

Rugby's cone of silence surrounding every contentious refereeing decision will probably apply again here so we may not know the reasons for Poite's actions for some time, but is clear that had he played advantage when Lions hooker Ken Owens caught the ball in an offside position, then Anton Lienert-Brown would have scored by the posts.

And, had he stuck with his decision after reviewing Kieran Read's mid-air challenge for the re-start, then Beauden Barrett had a big chance to kick his team to a series victory.


But Hansen, to his credit, has kept to his stance today of refusing to criticise Poite's actions.

"If we had taken the opportunities we would have won," he said. "It was an average way for it to finish but that's sport sometimes. We've just got to accept that and move on and get better at what we're trying to do.

"I said last night, as young people we were always taught to respect the referee and play to what he sees and that's what we'll do. We had plenty of chances to win the game ourselves."

After the bizarre sight of a shared presentation - both skippers Kieran Read and Sam Warburton held the cup aloft, Hansen made his way to the officials' changing room, but only to thank them.

"I went into the shed and said thanks for the game which I think was proper. The four of them [Poite, Jaco Peyper and Jerome Garces], with George [Ayoub] had done all three test matches and it was tough going for them too. We wouldn't have a game without them."

Poite's decision while notorious now, will fade into rugby folklore, and who knows, some good may even come from it.

"The more time you see something the more you can over-think it," Hansen said. "If you look at Romain's instincts, it was a penalty and straight away you see a young fella [Owens] who caught the ball - he knew 'shit, I shouldn't be catching this' so he chucked it away. And then they wanted to check if we hadn't touched it, a la Scotland v Australia at the World Cup, and when it came back we hadn't then all of a sudden these other opportunities were looked at.

"I think they just over-thought it. If he'd trusted his instincts and gone with them he would have made the right decision. If he had felt it was accidental then play on and Alby scores under the posts and we wouldn't be having this conversation.


"He didn't, he ended up over-thinking it, and he made a mistake. I bet you he's not feeling good about that. He's a good man Romain, he hasn't done it deliberately... you've just go to accept it as much as it can be frustrating and annoying, it's just part of sport."