Lions coach is 'a bit desperate', says Hansen

27 June 2017 - 08:06 By AFP
Lions head coach Warren Gatland. File photo.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland. File photo.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen lit the fuse on simmering tension with rival Warren Gatland yesterday, labelling the British and Irish Lions mentor “a bit desperate” for accusing his side of dangerous play.

An irate Hansen took exception to Gatland claiming the world champions targeted his scrumhalf Conor Murray during their 30-15 win over the Lions in the opening Test in Auckland.

Hansen, who has traded barbs with Gatland throughout the series, called talkback radio to let off steam.

"It's predictable comments from Gatland, isn't it? Two weeks ago we cheated in the scrums and last week it was blocking and now he's saying this," he told Radio Sport.

"It's really, really disappointing to hear it because what he's implying is we're intentionally going out to injure somebody.

"We've never been like that and as a New Zealander I'd expect him to know the New Zealand psyche that it's not about intentionally trying to hurt anybody," he said.

"It's about playing hard and fair." Hansen said the comments "take the gloss" off a great Test match.

"I guess he might be a bit desperate or something."

Gatland told reporters on Sunday that Murray had been singled out by the All Blacks and he would speak to the referees about the issue ahead of the second Test in Wellington on Saturday.