Referees were once again accused of favouring the New Zealand this week.
Owen Franks and the All Blacks drew ire from rugby fans across the globe this week, after the All Black prop allegedly gouged one of Kane Douglas’ eyes.
Although the incident was picked up by the cameras and caused outrage among fans and ex players like Brian O’Driscoll, it looks increasingly likely that even a token investigation will not take place.
— Brian O’Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) August 28, 2016
It isn’t only Franks who has come under scrutiny, but the incident saw referees accused of favouring the All Blacks.
Such accusations are not new, previously both fans and commentator’s questioned why match officials were slow to penalise Richie McCaw at the breakdown, or their perceived reluctance to police the off side line.
Nevertheless, New Zealanders have been quick to dismiss any calls of foul play, effectively labelling them as the bitter residue of defeat.
However the New Zealand Herald’s Sam Hewat has gone a step further, arguing that as the All Blacks are so dominant, opponents ‘just want excuses’.
In the his article, Hewat uses a statistical approach to illustrate that the All Blacks have been penalised more times than their opponents since Steve Hansen was appointed in 2012 – 616 to 569.
In the midst of the 59 test matches Hansen has overseen, New Zealand have also received six more yellow cards than their opponents – 28-22. During 35 of those tests, the All Blacks have also had an equal or higher penalty count than their opposition.
According to Hewat, such stats debunk the idea that New Zealand are favoured by referees. As a result, he begins to challenge the notion that the All Black’s are a ‘dirty team’.
Using more statistical data, Hewat points to the fact that the All Blacks have only suffered one suspension since 2012, a record only bettered by England during the same time period. He went further, highlighting the fact that only two of New Zealand’s yellow cards have come about as a result of foul play.
Although Hewat’s article is certainly an interesting take, it will no doubt cause further debate among fans.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena