‘Rip up the rule book,’ says Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has called for rugby union to simplify its laws after a number of high-profile errors during the Rugby Championship.

Hansen stopped short of criticising the referees for their involvement in the incidents, instead focussing his attentions on the complex rules of the game, which are left too open for interpretation.

'If I was allowed to do one thing in the game I'd rip the rule book up and I'd write another one and just put in the rules that are necessary,' he told reporters ahead of the All Blacks' Test against the Springboks in Wellington this weekend.

'We've got so many. If you read the rule book there's clause 5 (a) 2 (c). You read it and it doesn't even sound like English. The people that suffer the most are the people in the middle.'

The Springboks were on the receiving end of two dubious decisions in their Test against Australia; decisions that ultimately affected the outcome of the match in Perth. Meanwhile, onlookers to the match between New Zealand and Argentina were left similarly bemused by referee Pascal Gaüzère's decision to disallow a legitimate try for the Argentinians at a crucial stage of the match.

Hansen called for a more centralised approach to referees, without the differing interpretations that currently occur between northern and southern hemispheres referees.

'If they've got three different ideas you've got three different messages coming at you and I think that's difficult,' he said.

'I'd like them [the IRB] to employ the top 10 refs and get them to do all the games, that way they'd become better and more consistent. Give them two touch judges for the year and say “that's your team, we'll judge you as a team”.'

Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Gallo Images