Steven Hansen stops short of criticising Poite

Forwards

Forwards

Poite appears to confirm with Ayoub that he is correct to award a penalty but, by the time he has called Warburton and Read to him moments later, has already softened his view and downgraded the offence.

When New Zealand reflect on the last couple of minutes of a hectic Test match I wonder how they will feel about being refereed in the same way as the rest of the rugby world is refereed?

"I got a couple metres out and thought I was in with a good enough chance", he said.

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"I said before they came out here they were the best Lions team to come out here in a long time". I'd have liked that. It was worth asking the question. So we can't change that.

The same site's Phil Gifford was more broad in his criticism, saying under a headline lamenting a "French farce" that Poite "was out of his depth and at a level beyond his abilities" and "a pin-pricking pain at the scrum".

Hansen said he congratulated the referee after the game. "(Along with) Nigel Owens, they are supposedly the three best referees in the game.

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A long-time critic of rugby's over-complicated list of laws, Hansen urged the game's officials to act sooner rather than later so decisions like that from Saturday night were more clear cut. "We all know what should have happened but, at the end of the day, it's a game". "You're right, there's too many avenues that you can go down; but that's not the ref's fault either, that's the rulebook". People that are running the game need to ask themselves do we need to make it simpler.

It will go down as a great Lions campaign, a redemptive six weeks for Warren Gatland and a remarkable achievement by coach and players who overcame a horrendous schedule and all the bookies' predictions to scrap their way to parity with the world champions. He didn't look for excuses when his team lost the second Test to a contentious 77 minute penalty, despite playing with 14 men for 50 minutes.

But because I'm mindful that the kids are forever imploring us to "hate the game, not the player", I've steadfastly checked myself from hating as Hansen's side went unbeaten in 2013, establishing a world record 18-match winning streak en route to losing just five games and drawing twice in 71 games since 2012.

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"And in fairness to the man next to me [Warburton], he's been quite smart and astute he's been able to talk the referee from a penalty into an accidental offside".

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