Hansen hits out at ‘boring’ line-out

CHRISTCHURCH – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has called for a change in rugby’s laws to allow defending sides to collapse “bloody boring” line-out drives.

New Zealand conceded two tries from the tactic in their 39-18 Rugby Championship win over Argentina in Christchurch, both scored by opposition skipper Agustin Creevy.

Hansen said he wasn’t having a go at how South African referee Craig Joubert controlled the game.

“I’m having a go at the laws,” he said.

“He’s reffing it how the law says you can. Bloody boring, though.”

Hansen said he had been saying for years that he thought line-out drives were illegal obstruction and they should be turned into a fair contest.

“The easiest way would be to say you can collapse it,” he said.

“There’s never been anyone injured in a collapsed maul yet and there’s thousands of them every week get penalised, so make that legal and it becomes a half-pie, a fair contest.”

But Hansen also acknowledged that the rules were what they were and the All Blacks had to improve the way they countered line-out drives, especially with South Africa as their next opponents.

“We know they will scrum for some penalties, they will kick for line-outs and they will drive,” he said.

“So we will need to get better at it before we play them, otherwise there will be a lot of tries.”

One of New Zealand’s five five-pointers against Argentina, to skipper Richie McCaw, also came from a line-out drive.

McCaw said he noticed even in Super Rugby that teams were putting more work into making the manoeuvre a weapon and he expected “a fair bit of it” at the World Cup.

But he also indicated that a lack of discipline put the All Blacks in a vulnerable situation against the Pumas.

“The two tries they got, yes, we need to do some work at five-metre lineouts,” he said.

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