All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has confirmed that France were guilty of eye-gouging during the World Cup final on 23 October.
Following the All Blacks’ win in the decider, very little was made of the alleged incident by McCaw himself. But six weeks on, McCaw spoke out at a charity breakfast in Christchurch, confirming that there was plenty of foul play.
‘The French are worse when they are scared,’ he said. ‘They were as bad as they have been and were going for the eyes.
‘My eye was a bit sore for a while and I was struggling to see for a bit. I was surprised they didn’t cite him [France centre Aurelien Rougerie].’
It was consistent with what was written by the New Zealand media on the eve of the final, and some of the French coaches went on record saying that they would resort to illegal tactics in order to unsettle the All Blacks.
It was said that the French players would target McCaw’s injured foot, but in the end they went for his eyes.
Video evidence confirmed that Rougerie was indeed guilty of eye-gouging, but only came to light after the 36-hour timeframe for citing had expired. The IRB has since said that it will look into extending the citing window.