Referee Owens 'wasn't focused', Hansen claims


New Zealand coach Steve Hansen feels referee Nigel Owens got "caught up" in the "festival" atmosphere of a Barbarians match at Twickenham.

The Welshman took charge of the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, won by the All Blacks against Australia at the same venue, and is one of the most respected officials in the sport.

He shared some jokes with the players and tried to encourage a free-flowing contest in the exhibition match, but Hansen feels Owens was not quite at his sharpest as a consequence. 

"It was a festival game wasn't it and he is like the rest of us," the New Zealand coach told a news conference.

"He's fallen into the trap of getting caught up in it. He did a good job - I'm not saying he didn't, but there's no doubt in my mind that he wasn't as focused as he would have been if it was a Test match. 

"The crowd that came here wanted to see the rugby that was played and they wanted to see tries, hence why they clapped and then booed when the try under the post wasn't awarded. It's difficult for a player to get their head around that and it's also difficult for the ref."