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New Zealand

All Blacks defend Pumas discipline

05th September 2013 07:10

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Support: Steve Hansen

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has defended Argentina's reputation following their fiery defeat to South Africa.

Number eight Leonardo Senatore was banned for nine weeks for biting Eben Etzebeth in Mendoza, whilst blindside flanker Pablo Matera was cleared after being cited for gouging.

Renowned for their physicality, Hansen does not believe that Argentina are a "dirty" team ahead of Saturday's match in Hamilton.

The New Zealand boss also expressed his understanding over Argentina's difficult schedule in the build-up to the tournament, which has seen them miss out on the same amount of preparation time as their opponents.

"We're not playing tiddlywinks and every now and then people probably do things they don't want to do," said Hansen.

"In the heat of the battle, it happens. I don't see them as being a dirty team.

"They're a good rugby side, they're growing into this competition, and they've probably got the hardest job of all four teams.

"They've got most of their players playing in the northern hemisphere, they don't get much of an opportunity to get that reconditioning window that you get at the end of the season because they are coming straight into a June window.

"It's going to be difficult going on for them but hopefully they can get some contracted players back home and involved in some competition that suits this competition."

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