BRISBANE - A Scott Higginbotham "cheap shot" on All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has infuriated the All Blacks who are bewildered by the lack of protection for their skipper.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was seething after the 18-18 draw with the Wallabies on Saturday night, but not just because of a huge missed opportunity at Suncorp Stadium.
While the All Blacks missed the chance for a record-equalling 17th straight Test win, Hansen's frustrations bubbled over after Higginbotham escaped without punishment for kneeing McCaw in the head before head-butting him in the 26th minute. The New Zealand flanker was penalised for leaving his feet in a ruck before the Wallabies No.6 took matters into his own hands in a scuffle.
The incident revived memories of Quade Cooper's knee to McCaw's head at the same ground 14 months ago when the Wallabies playmaker escaped the next day when exonerated at a judicial hearing.
"I saw the head-butt - it's another cheap shot," Hansen said.
"He seems to get them every week but everyone seems to miss them."