New Zealand have won 70 of their last 75 Tests, but the perception that they get preferential treatment by referees is inaccurate, according to a Kiwi rugby writer.
Owen Franks has dominated the media for the past week for allegedly eye-gouging Wallaby Kane Douglas in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington. Sanzaar and Douglas dismissed the allegation, prompting views that the All Blacks get 'special treatment'.
In his column for the New Zealand Herald, Sam Hewat says the stats prove otherwise.
Since 2012, when Steve Hansen took over from Graham Henry, the All Blacks have played 59 Tests. In that time, they were penalised 47 more times than their opponents (616 to 569) and received the most yellow cards (28 to 22). In 35 of the 59 games played, the All Blacks have had an equal or higher penalty count, averaging 10.44 to their opponents 9.44.
Of all the yellow cards the All Blacks conceded since 2012, just two have been for 'foul play'. One was Adam Thomson in 2012 and other Ben Franks in 2014 for a swinging arm.
Contrast that to the All Blacks' rivals, who have less yellow cards but more suspensions. Of their cards, four have come from 'foul play', which includes punches, elbows to the face, and head butts.