BEPPU – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has refused to add to the rising criticism of Rugby World Cup officials and instead asked fellow coaches and pundits to appreciate they were also under pressure.
Australia coach Michael Cheika was particularly critical of referee Romain Poite's performancce in their 29-25 loss to Wales in Tokyo on Sunday, while former Wallabies hooker Phil Kearns lambasted Poite and television match official Ben Skeen.
Hansen, however, refused to be drawn on the controversy that has blighted the tournament, with World Rugby issuing a directive last week about the performance of the officials in the opening weekend of games.
"They're under a lot of pressure," Hansen told reporters in Beppu on Monday when asked about the critisim on refereeing.
"I talked before we came to this tournament about how pressure can affect a rugby team under pressure. Referees are no different.