All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has praised TMO Marius Jonker for making the correct decision by overruling a likely match-winning England try in the dying stages of New Zealand’s 16-15 win this morning.
England thought they had snatched it when Sam Underhill scored after a charge down with four minutes to go, only for the TMO to rule out the score for an offside decision against Courtney Lawes.
That condemned England to yet another defeat at the hands of the world champions, who have now won 15 of the teams’ last 16 meetings.
Members of the British media claimed Lawes was “clearly onside”, but Hansen commended South African Jonker for making the correct call.
“There’s no doubt he’s offside, he’s just about in the halfback’s back pocket,” Hansen said.
“What was going through my mind was are they going to be brave enough to make the right decision? And they were so it was good.”
All Blacks captain Kieran Read said his players didn’t try influence the TMO by walking up to the spot for penalty decision.
“To be honest, I didn’t know, I didn’t see the call,” he said.
“Like Steve [Hansen] said, once we saw what it was and the fact he was offside you just hope they make the right call and thankfully we got it.
“Once the boys saw it on the big screen then we felt it was going to be our penalty.”
Coach Hansen also praised his players for making the most of their limited opportunities.
“I thought we showed a lot of character,” Hansen said. “The weather conditions weren’t conducive to razzle-dazzle rugby. But the boys stuck with it.
“In the second half, we took the points early. We showed a lot of character.
“You’re not going to have momentum all the time. It’s important you maximise the momentum when you’ve got it.
“We had the self-belief and mental fortitude to hang in on there.”
The All Blacks face Ireland in their next match.