Blacks not buying mind games

All Black forwards Jerry Collins and Anton Oliver have rejected claims by France that they employ illegal tactics at the breakdown and scrums.

French assistant coach Jacques Brunel yesterday said that referees had shown the All Blacks leniency in these facets of play and called for Australian referee Stuart Dickinson to police these areas more vigilantly in Lyon on Saturday.

But flanker Jerry Collins reckoned he had heard it all before.

“It’s shadow-boxing before a big game,” he told the Herald. “It’s all part of professional sport. I don’t look too much into it, it just always happens I suppose.”

Collins said he was confident that Dickinson would handle the pressure.”Everyone wants to put pressure on the referee, you’d be wrong not to try I suppose,” he said.

“He’ll sit down with both teams and listen but when he gets on the field he’ll call it as he sees it.”

Brunel also raised concerns about the All Black scrum technique which he said was designed to give them the ascendency on the hit. He alleges that they start from a high position and beat the referee’s call of “engage”, giving them momentum and catching opponents on the back foot.

“We don’t do that,” hooker Anton Oliver said, describing how the front row takes up a three-quarter crouch to allow the locks to engage more easily.

“It’s not a way of controlling what the ref does. Referees are pretty hot on engagement these days anyway.”

Meanwhile, Hurricane’s prop Neemia Tialata has been cleared of a calf injury and will take his place on the reserve bench.

Teams

France: 15 Julien Laharrague, 14 Aurelien Rougerie, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Christophe Dominici; 10 Damien Traille, 9 Dimitri Yachvilli, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Pascal Pape, 4 Fabien Pelous (c), 3 Pieter de Villiers, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Sylvain Marconnet. Replacements: 16 Raphael Ibanez, 17 Olivier Milloud, 18 Lionel Nallet, 19 Remy Martin, 20 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 21 David Marty, 22 Cedric Heymans.

New Zealand: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Ali Williams, 4 James Ryan, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Anton Oliver, 1 Tony Woodcock.