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Ref admitted Test blunders, says All Blacks coach

AFP
All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden kicks a penalty during the rugby union Test match against the Wallabies in Sydney on August 16, 2014
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All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden kicks a penalty during the rugby union Test match against the Wallabies in Sydney on August 16, 2014 (AFP Photo/William West)

Auckland (AFP) - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Thursday said referee Jaco Peyper admitted a series of blunders during last week's record-denying Test draw with Australia -- but added it was no excuse for his team's poor performance.

Coach Steve Hansen, who sought a meeting with the South African whistleblower after the 12-12 draw in Sydney, said Peyper "put his hand up" and confessed he was wrong with one yellow card and several free kicks.

But Hansen said the All Blacks also had an off-day as they were halted one short of a record 18th straight Test win by the fired-up Wallabies.

"I know why we didn't perform at the weekend. There were certain areas of our game we were very poor at," Hanson said, as he announced three changes to his starting line up for the return Test in Auckland on Saturday.

But as much as the All Blacks were outplayed, Hansen said the refereeing did not help.

"We've spoken to the referee about the scrummaging. He put his hand up, said he got the free-kicks wrong," he said.

"The first yellow card (against prop Wyatt Crockett) was wrong -- the ball was out.

"It was a good conversation, I respect the man for his honesty. He's no different than players. Some days you have a bad day. He had a bad day at the office and put his hand up.

"But I've got to emphasise, it wasn't just his problem. We had a hell of a bad day ourselves so we'll forget about him and concentrate on what we can do."

Hansen said he would meet with French referee Romaine Poite, who is handling Saturday's match, before kick-off on Saturday.

The All Blacks have made two injury-enforced changes, with Liam Messam and Ryan Crotty coming in for Jerome Kaino and Ma'a Nonu, while Conrad Smith returns to outside centre after missing the first Test due to the birth of his son.

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