Ben Smith ‘Not stupid’: Hansen hits back at Springboks coach

Ben Smith ‘Not stupid’: Hansen hits back at Springboks coach

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All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has quickly hit back at claims from Springboks opposite Rassie Erasmus that the All Blacks have traditionally received favourable decisions from referees because of their previous status as the No 1-ranked team in the world.

Erasmus yesterday doubled down on assertions from an assistant coach that referees have respected the All Blacks a little too much over their 10-year reign as top dogs – as far as the World Rugby rankings are concerned – and now that the landscape is more even, with Ireland ranked above them, so the officials should, in theory, be less partial.

The two nations play each other in a highly-anticipated first World Cup pool match at Yokohama on Saturday.

Not surprisingly, Erasmus’ opinions got short shrift from Hansen in Tokyo today. In fact, his disappointment at Erasmus, a respected rival in charge of a team who have traditionally got on well with the All Blacks, was clearly evident.

Frenchman Jerome Garces, who sent off lock Scott Barrett in Perth the last time he officiated an All B

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