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Former Lion Matt Stevens Is Adamant Jerome Kaino’s Targeting Of Conor Murray Was Deliberate

It’s turning into the hot topic of the week. 

Already we have seen a war of words develop between Warren Gatland and Steve Hansen over the treatment of Conor Murray during the first Test at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

Being physical on an opponents scrum-half is nothing new, of course, most teams attempt to rattle their opponents most influential player in order to negate the influence they have on a game.

However, Gatland took particular offence to Jerome Kaino’s attempted block down of one of Murray’s box-kicks during Saturday’s Test. Kaino attempted the charge down from the blindside, although it’s almost impossible to do so from this angle. Kaino ended up going through Murray’s standing leg, with their being the potential for serious injury.

Steve Hansen has already rubbished Gatland’s opinion, stating that it was “desperate” and “predictable”. However, former Lions and England international, Matt Stevens, believes that Kaino was deliberate in his actions on Saturday.

“Are New Zealand being cynical? From the evidence, it looks like they are,” Stevens told Sky Sports.

“When you look at that – Jerome Kaino has made a decision. He has put his head down, put his hands out to attack the ball but he can’t attack the ball from that side.

“So, in my opinion, I think it is cynical play and it is something he has thought about before he has done it.”

The topic will likely be raised again this week and it will be interesting to see if any of this type of play occurs in Wellington on Saturday.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter