Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen hits back at ‘cheats’ tag

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Former England playmaker Stuart Barnes wrote an opinion piece for The Sunday Times.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has hit back at accusations his side are “the most cynical cheats at a breakdown” who are “paranoid about openside cover” in their Rugby World Cup squad.

The claims were made by former England first five-eighth now commentator/journalist Stuart Barnes, in a piece written inThe Sunday Times.

Barnes described the All Blacks as being the most positive attacking team in the world, but that they had a dark flip side and were intent on replacing the influential Richie McCaw with other players capable of killing quick ball, and that as a team they were masters of pressuring referees to rule the breakdown in their favour.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has responded to accusations that his team are cynical cheats at the breakdown.

ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has responded to accusations that his team are cynical cheats at the breakdown.

Speaking soon after arriving in Hamilton for Saturday’s test against Tonga, which presents as a final hitout before the World Cup, Hansen dismissed Barnes’ comments as nonsense.

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“I hadn’t even given it any thought, waste of time,” Hansen said.

“Like, we’re playing Tonga this week, and you’ve got commentators in the UK who have come out and said we’re cynical at the breakdown. 

“We’re no different to any other team at the breakdown. But he’s got to say something because he’s got to sell his papers. So let’s not get caught up and buy into that.

Ardie Savea and Sam Cane have been teaming up to give the All Blacks dual opensides on the park.

HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES

Ardie Savea and Sam Cane have been teaming up to give the All Blacks dual opensides on the park.

“If he thinks that’s why we’re carrying three opensides [Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Matt Todd], that’s good, carry on thinking that. It couldn’t be further f

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