Hansen dismisses alleged McCaw foul play

Richie McCaw has led the All Blacks out for the last time

New Zealand’s head coach Steve Hansen has dismissed reports that his All Black captain could miss the Rugby World Cup final for foul play.

Videos and pictures have emerged which appear to show McCaw running past Springbok flanker Francois Louw who falls to the ground after McCaw has moved on.

The pictures are inconclusive but a number of fans on social media have accused McCaw of elbowing Louw.

“There’s nothing in it, so there’s nothing to talk about. Move on,” Hansen told a press conference the day after New Zealand’s 20-18 win over South Africa.

Hansen said McCaw’s greatness as a player made him a target for opponents, who would rather take on an All Blacks side with the captain absent.

Video images emerged after the fiercely-fought contest showing McCaw’s elbow apparently striking .

Other images shown later made it look as though Louw was hit by McCaw’s hip. Louw had stitches in two wounds in his head but said he did not know how the injuries were caused.

Hansen gave a strong defence of his captain’s playing and reputation.

“He’s a man that draws a lot of attention because he’s been a great player, probably the greatest player certainly who has played for the All Blacks and maybe in the history of the game,” said 56-year-old Hansen.

“If he’s not in your team he’s a pain in the rear end so it goes that if you can’t get him on the track let’s get him off the track.

“It’s a mark of respect. There will be some people who are bitter and twisted about him.

“However, 99 percent of people in rugby, whilst he’s not playing against him, like him.

“It’s when we play certain teams that they get upset about him. He takes it in his stride and the team takes it in their stride.”

McCaw is looking straight ahead at the time of the incident as he chases Damian de Allende, who has the ball, around the back of a ruck.

Louw is on one knee having just completed a turnover and fed the ball to de Allende as McCaw goes past.

Some media in New Zealand and Britain questioned whether the blow could lead to McCaw being cited ahead of next Saturday’s World Cup final.

“It was kicked off by social media and I’m not a big fan of social media,” said Hansen.

The All Blacks are bidding to become the first country to win three titles and the first team to defend their title.

World Rugby have confirmed that McCaw will not be cited and that he is free to play Australia in the Rugby World Cup final.

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