Hansen: Ref made a mistake

AUCKLAND – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen maintains Romain Poite made a mistake in overturning a late penalty against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday but said there were other key decisions against his team that should prompt World Rugby to re-examine the laws of the game.

With the score tied at 15-15 and less than two minutes remaining in the third test at Eden Park, referee Poite initially awarded the All Blacks a penalty when he deemed Lions’ replacement hooker Ken Owens was offside when one of his own players dropped a kickoff into his hands.

The penalty, had it stood, would have given Beauden Barrett a routine kick at goal to win both the match and clinch the three-match series.

Poite, however, decided to discuss the decision with his assistants and the television official and eventually ruled that Owens was accidentally offside. The referee awarded a scrum to the All Blacks instead of a penalty and the Lions were able to hold off a late New Zealand surge as the series ended 1-1.

Hansen said the incident, and two other important decisions that had gone against this side in the series, showed the game’s laws were far too complicated.

“It’s a really complicated game,” Hansen told reporters on Sunday. “

“The referee is thinking) ‘do I go there, or do I go there? When it should be ‘is it? Or isn’t it?’

“When we have things that have multiple interpretations we will have human error.”

The All Blacks coach reiterated that Poite’s decision to overturn his original penalty was a simple case of the Frenchman overthinking the decision.

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