WELLINGTON, New Zealand — All Blacks back-rower Jerome Kaino said we would never intentionally hurt an opposition player and that the incident involving British & Irish Lions scrum-half Conor Murray from the first Test was more an issue of poor timing.
Kaino fronted the media in Wellington on Tuesday afternoon, revealing the fallout from the weekend’s controversial charge-down incident had sent his Twitter feed into overdrive.
Just when it looked like the talking would happen on the pitch the war of words reignited between the two coaches after Steve Hansen bit back at Warren Gatland’s allegations over the All Blacks targeting Conor Murray.
British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will ask the referees to clamp down on the All Blacks’ “dangerous” harassment of Conor Murray’s kicking game after Saturday’s first Test defeat to New Zealand.
Lions coach Warren Gatland first raised the All Blacks’ targeting of Murray on Sunday before New Zealand coach Steve Hansen labelled his opposite’s claims as “desperate and predictable“. But with video of Kaino’s charge-down gone wrong doing the rounds on social media, the All Blacks back-rower was hit with a flurry of questions as to the nature of the incident.
“Yeah I’ve seen it reviewing the game and it’s popped up on my twitter feed about a million times so it’s a bit hard to avoid it,” he said. “I guess people have their opinions on it and all I can say is it wasn’t my intention to go out there and target his planted foot; it’s never nice when you have things done to you outside the laws and the way we do things is within the spirit of the game.”
With Murray’s box-kicking a key part of the Lions’ game plan in Auckland, and likely to again be a focal point in Wellington on Saturday, it was no surprise the All Blacks tried to limit his effectiveness.
But Kaino said no All Black would ever act outside rugby’s laws.
“We weren’t told to do anything, we know their strengths and we see ways where we can pressure them,” he said. “But not only him, they have so many strengths in their team and we try come up with ways where we can nullify them but it’s all within the rules and the laws.”
Conor Murray Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images
In attempting to explain the Murray incident in more detail, Kaino added: “Well I didn’t go into tackle him…what I was trying to do was, his swinging foot, if you can disrupt that it’s like an ankle tap. So you disrupt the kicking. My timing was off and [I] rolled into his planted foot and that’s what I believe happened, if that’s clear enough.”
Kaino, a veteran of 78 Test caps, needed all of his experience as the travelling British and Irish media pressed him on the incident for close to 10 minutes. And not wanting it to evolve into something similar to Tana Umaga’s tackle on Brian O’Driscoll from the 2005 Lions series, Kaino could have done little more to explain the incident.
“You always look at things on how you can improve and I look at that incident, and yeah there are areas where we can improve,” he said. “But I think what’s at question here is my intent and what kind of player I was and all I can say is that I’d never go into a game trying to target someone and intentionally hurt them. So I just wanted to clear that up.”
The Lions’ battle the Hurricanes in their final midweek game on Tuesday night.
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/19745976/jerome-kaino-responds-conor-murray-incident-says-never-intentionally-injure
Kaino: No intention to injure in Murray incident
www.espn.co.uk – RUGBY