‘Niggly’ tactics beneath Kiwi players

GREGOR PAUL, writing in the New Zealand Herald, says there's a touch of the sanctimonious about New Zealand rugby when it comes to the issue of foul play.

There have been a lot of off-the-ball incidents in this year's Super Rugby competition, and the New Zealanders have come in for some criticism.

'The All Blacks are not a dirty team, New Zealand rugby is not riddled with filth,' wrote Paul. 'However, while the game here might not be dirty, it is starting to be more than a little niggly.

'These last few weeks have seen an increasing number of players indulge in unnecessary, cheap stuff that is designed to infuriate opponents. Worst of all has been the jersey-holding. The Crusaders were frankly shocking when they played the Stormers a few weeks back.

'Every ruck, every breakdown there would be a Crusaders' player, clinging on to something he shouldn't have been. Schalk Burger, not one to hang around to wait for the referee to sort those things out, lost his cool and started swinging his giant paws about at one stage.'

Paul goes on to say that such tactics are beneath the New Zealand players, and will be picked up by referees sooner rather than later.

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Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli