Wales v New Zealand, Millennium Stadium, November 27
Hansen: McCaw criticism 'boring'
ESPNscrum Staff
November 24, 2010
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw looks for support, New Zealand training, Castleknock Hotel, Dublin, Ireland, November 16, 2010
Steve Hansen has dubbed criticism of Richie McCaw 'boring' © Getty Images

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has dismissed criticism of Richie McCaw's tactics at the breakdown as 'boring' prior to Saturday's meeting with Wales in Cardiff.

The All Blacks skipper was blasted by Ireland's Stephen Ferris in the wake of last weekend's 38-18 victory in Dublin, with the Ulster flanker incensed by what he perceived as illegal slowing of their possession.

During the Tri-Nations there were repeated calls for stricter policing of McCaw on the floor and Ferris' condemnation of the record-breaking flank led Hansen to react.

"That's becoming quite boring now I think," he said. "He is the greatest openside flanker in the game and he probably knows the rules better than the referees.

"If he makes a tackle and ends up on their side of the tackle, he is allowed to be there and compete for the ball until a ruck is formed. A ruck is not formed until two players are bound over the ball so he is not doing anything illegal.

"Every time he goes to speak to a referee about a penalty, which most of the time he has not given away, a commentator will say 'there is the ref talking to McCaw again, he should have been yellow-carded'.

"It's quite disrespectful, but all it does is make Richie play better, so I can put up with the boredom if it keeps motivating him. It's just an excuse really."

Hansen, a former Wales coach, is expecting renewed vigour from the home side this weekend after their disappointing draw with Fiji was met with widespread derision. The All Blacks can complete a third Grand Slam in five years at the Millennium Stadium and will not be taking Wales lightly.

"I am not at all surprised by the criticism Wales have faced," he said. "I think expectations have risen over the last few years and rightly so, they have won a couple of Six Nations Grand Slams and they are a good side.

"I think the public have every right to be disappointed, as you would expect Wales to beat Fiji. The players and coaches would have expected that too. They will be dangerous, anybody that has been put under the spotlight and criticism they have faced will be.

"Remember that performance came from a few people that won't be playing on Saturday, I think they had made nine changes last week. So the 'A' team will come out on Saturday after being criticised for the performance of the 'B' team. They are very abrasive and up until this tour they have been one of the few northern hemisphere sides that want to play rugby. We will have to be right on our game."

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