NZ the biggest cheats in world rugby - Dwyer

By Time of article published Aug 3, 2010

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By Peter Bills Melbourne

They have given the rugby world a beautiful reminder, an aesthetically pleasing wake-up call. Rugby remains a great game when running, handling and passing are the pre-eminent philosophies, not kicking.

Yet New Zealand's stunning start to this season's Tri-Nations tournament has other sides to it, claim some critics.

And as much as the All Blacks played what coach|Graham Henry justifiably called "scintillating rugby" against Australia in Melbourne on Saturday, some observers point to the darker side of the All Blacks' game.

Former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer led the charge.

Dwyer was the first to acknowledge the All Blacks' overwhelming superiority in Saturday's Melbourne Test, a match he attended.

Yet he says he remains bemused at some of the All Blacks' tactics.

"They're the biggest cheats in world rugby, without doubt. Each week they invent new ways of breaking the laws," Dwyer alleged.

That was a decent serve, for starters. But Dwyer hastened to add that he had no complaints at the|supremacy of the All Blacks over what he called a "dire" Australian side at the weekend.

"They were far the better team, no question, and in every phase," he said.

"Yet there are parts of their play that are blatantly illegal under the laws of the game. How many times on the All Blacks' own ball did the clean- out come from the side or from in front of the ball? Yet assistant referee Jonathan Kaplan stood there on the sideline and watched it the whole game. I mean, he MUST have seen it.

"New Zealand don't do it as much on their opponents' ball because they know they'd get|penalised. But on their own, they come in from all kinds of illegal positions to clean out. At one stage, Richie McCaw cleaned out an Australian player at least two metres from the ball."

Ironically, support for part of Dwyer's argument came from the unlikeliest source, All Blacks captain McCaw.

There was hardly a ruck or breakdown in the last hour of Saturday's Test when a New Zealander was not seen to be|lying on the wrong side of the play. Belatedly, he would try to move away or put up his arms to signify no intent.

Yet the effect was always the same - Australian halfback Will Genia had to try and dig out the ball and then secure it above or beside the prone body of a New Zealander.

It meant Genia's task was harder and often the ball could not be moved directly off the ground with one sweeping movement, instantly sending it into the arms of flyhalf Matt Giteau. It earned New Zealand valuable seconds to re-form |defensively.

This happened so often, was it deliberate policy by the All Blacks? Surely not. But whatever the truth, South African referee Craig Joubert allowed it to continue unchecked vir-|tually the whole match.

It will be a major surprise|if his fellow South African|official Kaplan will be anything like as tolerant in this Saturday's Christchurch Test. It got so ridiculous that even McCaw was moved to comment afterwards: "We were guilty at times of not getting out of the way as the tackler."

Never mind his honesty, even more impressively, the All Blacks captain said it almost with a straight face. That must have taken some doing.

But Dwyer also launched into the Wallabies with some venom. "For some time now, I have thought the balance of the Wallabies in successive games is not the same. Sometimes they look full of vim and vigour, but at other times lethargic.

"In Melbourne, they looked lethargic and something in the preparation must be different. Either they are over-trained one week and so tired or they are still tired from the previous week and they haven't had a good recovery. But there was a total lack of urgency in this match. There wasn't one part of their game that was good.

"Their decision-making was ridiculous. That means one of two things - either the players are not good enough or the coaches are not good enough."

Dwyer suspects it is the|latter who are to blame.

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