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All Blacks

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McCaw plays down eye-gouge as video released

Last updated 07:01 26/10/2011

TONY SMITH

PHOTOSPORT

HELPING HAND: Richie McCaw receives treatment late in the game against France.

PHOTOSPORT

Footage of French centre Aurelien Rougerie apparently gouging All Blacks captain Richie McCaw's eye has been released after the All Blacks captain played down the incident.

McCaw said yesterday that he got "a poke in the eye" in the World Cup final but is not sure if it was deliberate eye-gouging.

See video below

However, last night Sky Sport show Reunion screened video which showed Rougerie clashing heads with McCaw in the 77th minute before dragging his fingers across the openside's face.

Reunion panellist Grant Nisbett said the images were "damning", while former All Black halfback Jon Preston said it was "indefensible".

No complaint has been made by the All Blacks about any alleged eye-gouging of McCaw towards the end of last Sunday's match, an incident commentator Keith Quinn says upset the world champions.

But both McCaw and forwards coach Steve Hansen seemed relatively unfazed when asked about the incident during yesterday's victory parade in central Christchurch.

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"I got a poke in the eye. I don't know if it was intentional, it was pretty quick," McCaw said.

He said it was "fine" when the final whistle went and he was "just happy we won". "I'm not too worried about it at the moment"

Quinn said yesterday that French captain Thierry Dusautoir was nearby when the incident took place but "offered no consolation to McCaw".

But McCaw said he did not know how Dusautoir had reacted. "Honestly, there was that much going on in the game. I just wanted to get myself right so I could finish it off properly."

Hansen said McCaw did get a poke in the eye but he did not know if it was deliberate. "I haven't seen the incident, I haven't watched the game since. I don't really need to – 8-7 was enough for me, I don't need to analyse it."

No action is likely now. The All Blacks have not lodged a complaint and an IRB spokesperson confirmed yesterday that the citing period for the game was over.

Quinn claimed while the incident could be seen, his information came from someone "very close to the New Zealand team", he said.

"McCaw received medical attention for several minutes and then gets up, you can clearly see it on TV, he speaks to the referee, which looks like reference to the incident," Quinn said. He thought it explained why New Zealand and French players didn't embrace at the end of the game or trade pleasantries in the speeches.

"There was little to no contact between the two teams at the end of the game. They might have been concerned about what had happened, I don't know."

- The Press

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