Former Irish player says All Blacks have 'diplomatic immunity' despite cheating 'with impunity'

A former Irish international is the latest to pen a column attacking the All Blacks at this year's Rugby World Cup, calling the team a group of cheaters who are escaping send offs for free.

Former Ireland No.8 Neil Francis took aim at the All Blacks in the Irish Independent, claiming the All Blacks "cheat with impunity and such breathtaking cynicism and referees let them do it".

Francis, who played 36 Tests for Ireland between 1987 and 1996, reviewed the All Blacks' 63-0 win over Canada on Saturday and argued the New Zealand side "gave away 20 penalties, of which only one was awarded".

Francis also claimed Kieran Read should've been sent off in the match while Beauden Barrett and Sonny Bill Williams should've been yellow carded.

"This was for a head-first no-arms tackle by Kieran Read on one of the hapless Canadian runners. Don't worry Kieran, you are the captain of the All Blacks, you have diplomatic immunity," Francis wrote.

"In the middle of this phase of play there was a comic moment involving Sonny Bill Williams. The All Black centre jumped offside at the ruck but put his hands in the air. This very act automatically absolves you from wrongdoing.

"The referee cannot penalise you if you are an All Black who jumps offside but puts his hands up. It is in the rule book - the offside law article 5 paragraph 3.

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The All Blacks coach says his team are working hard on their tackling technique amid the World Rugby crackdown. Source: 1 NEWS

"What is the upshot of this little vignette? First off Barrett should have got a yellow, Read arguably a red and Williams a yellow and Poite should have awarded Canada a penalty try.

"New Zealand are difficult enough to beat at the best of times but because they cheat with impunity and such breathtaking cynicism and referees let them do it, they are even more difficult to overcome."

Then Francis opted to go even further, taking aim at retired great Richie McCaw who he believes shouldn't be held on a pedestal.

"If there is a rugby heaven and hell, Richie McCaw, who lifted two World Cups, will probably be sitting at the right hand of God whereas in the real world he should be down in the bowels of hell with demons sticking hot pokers up his arse and Martin Johnson for company.

"They cheat, they cheat, and they cheat! And they are let away with it time after time!"

Francis' comments come after another Irish writer Ewan MacKenna wrote about the All Blacks' "unfair advantage" they gain from the "overdone" haka, which he believes has no place in the international game.

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Tamati Rimene-Sproat spoke with Ewan MacKenna. Source: Seven Sharp

"There's a practical reason why the haka shouldn't happen as, while it provides a psychological edge through self-inspiration and via an attempt at opponent intimidation, it also provides a small physical edge as others are forced to stand still and go briefly cold," he wrote.

Ireland's campaign is teetering on a knife's edge currently after their shock loss to Japan earlier in the competition which is now leaving them at risk of being knocked out of the tournament if their final pool game against Manu Samoa is washed out by Typhoon Hagibis.