All Black captain Richie McCaw has been forced to defend his team, again, in the face of renewed accusations of All Black cheating.
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Former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer has jumped on the bandwagon – which has as its driver the Springbok team – when he called the All Blacks the “biggest cheats in world rugby”.
Bok vice-captain Victor Matfield suggested the Kiwis “get away with murder”.
He has support from Dwyer, who based his remarks on the fact that New Zealand is the most penalised team in the Tri-Nations – despite receiving just one yellow card.
South Africa, the least penalised team with 24 penalties in three games, head the list of ‘card-carriers’ – with four yellow cards, three citings and three suspensions in three matches.
Australia, with 18 penalties in two games, have four yellow cards, a red card, a citing and a suspension in two matches, are next.
New Zealand, however, have received just one yellow card – despite conceding 34 penalties in three matches.
“Without doubt. Each week they invent new ways of breaking the laws,” Dwyer told The Independent newspaper in the wake of the All Blacks’ 49-28 win over Australia in Melbourne last week.
“They were far the better team, no question, and in every phase. Yet there are parts of their play that are blatantly illegal under the laws of the game.
“How many times on the All Blacks’ own ball did the clean-out come from the side or from in front of the ball? Yet assistant referee Jonathan Kaplan stood there on the sideline and watched it the whole game. I mean, he must have seen it.
“New Zealand don’t do it as much on their opponents’ ball because they know they’d get penalised. But on their own, they come in from all kinds of illegal positions to clean out. At one stage, Richie McCaw cleaned out an Australian player at least two metres from the ball.”
McCaw, however, disagrees and the All Black openside flank said that the breakdown was the cleanest it had been in years.
“I think it is because it’s being left to the players who specialise in that area rather than everyone having a crack,” he told The Dominion Post.
McCaw said his opposite, David Pocock, had shown in Melbourne how turnovers could still be legally attained with the right technique as the second or third player to a ruck.
He said the All Blacks had for long periods made no attempt to contest or slow Australia’s ball.
“Getting a couple [of turnovers] is good, but if you keep missing them then that’s when penalties start getting given away,” McCaw said.
“You have to weigh up whether to get up off the ground and get back in the line or try and stop it there, but you are potentially doing a 50-50 job.
“There are periods where even if you are [in the] right, especially if you get a warning, [you should], just get out, and it gives the ref no reason to look at you.”