France forward Kevin Gourdon has stoked the fires ahead of the second Test by calling New Zealand “cheats” following a controversial start to the series.
Les Bleus were furious following an incident involving Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Sam Cane at Eden Park last Saturday, which left Remy Grosso with a double fracture of his face.
Cane was penalised for a high tackle on Grosso, but no card was shown to the flanker, and Tu’ungafasi escaped punishment after clashing heads with the France wing.
That came after Paul Gabrillagues had been contentiously sent to the sin bin for what was deemed to be a high tackle on Ryan Crotty, with the All Blacks going on to dish out a 52-11 thrashing at Eden Park after being behind at half-time.
Gourdon did not hold back with his thoughts on the world champions ahead of Saturday’s showdown in Wellington.
“The All Blacks cheat, of course, but it’s certainly related to the fact they play good rugby… which has a positive effect on the referees,” said the flanker.
New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster refuted the “cheat” claims and said they do not benefit from special treatment from officials.
“I think if you look at the penalty counts [and] yellow cards last year, we were one of the top yellow-carded teams in the world so I’m not sure how this ‘soft on us’ comes to fruition,” Foster said.
“I think we’ve been pretty open and honest about how we interpreted last week.
“We thought they were a little bit unlucky with their yellow card; it was one of those marginal ones. Was it up there? Yes it was. Was it significant? Probably not.”
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta