All Blacks boss Hansen hits back at 'desperate' Gatland


All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen took aim at opposite number Warren Gatland after the British and Irish Lions boss claimed New Zealand were dangerously targeting Conor Murray.

Gatland was unhappy following Saturday's 30-15 loss in Auckland, concerned over the treatment of Lions scrum-half Murray against the world champions.

The Lions head coach felt Murray was unfairly targeted at Eden Park as he expressed his concerns to the match officials, and Hansen returned fire on Monday, making for a fierce clash in Wellington on Saturday.

"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," Hansen 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.

"That's not the case. 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, it's about playing hard and fair."

Hansen continued: "I guess he might be a bit desperate or something. I don't know why he would be saying it.

"He's implying that we're trying to hurt the guy. Rugby is about playing within the laws and in this case we're trying to charge the kick down, and/or tackle him. Both those things are legal. That's what the game is built around.

"Just because he [Murray] is one of their key players it doesn't mean to say that he has the right to go around the park without being charged down or tackled.

"It's just disappointing after such a great Test match, two days later or whatever, he's come out and saying something like that."