New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has denied an allegation from Australia that he had a secret meeting with referee Romain Poite before Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test.
Australia lodged an official complaint after their 29-9 defeat in Wellington, claiming Hansen and Poite met prior to the game which is not allowed according to World Rugby regulations.
Hansen refuted the claim on Sunday but did admit he caught up with assistant referee Jaco Peyper at the latter’s request to “review” incidents from the first Test in Sydney the week before of which Peyper was the referee.
“I’m a firm believer that we’re here to support the referees and help them. It’s a difficult game to ref so why wouldn’t you have the meeting?” Hansen told AAP.
“[But] we certainly didn’t have one with Romain Poite. We don’t meet the ref, haven’t done for about 18 to 24 months, because it’s just a waste of time.”
Under World Rugby rules, coaches are permitted to meet with referees before a match, but only if there are representatives from both teams present, or if one side is invited and declines the opportunity.
Hansen said it was “quite sad” the allegation was made and joked he was “shattered” by the implications.