TODAY |

Watch: 'Most of the banter came from Nigel!' Steve Hansen takes cheeky dig at ref's focus after 'festival' match

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has taken a cheeky dig at referee Nigel Owens for not showing the same focus in this morning's match between the All Blacks and Barbarians as he would have if it had been an international Test.

The All Blacks coach said Owens ruled the game differently from what he would a Test match. Source: 1 NEWS

Owens, known for his wit and tongue-in-cheek comments during rugby matches, was up to his usual mischief when the All Blacks' regular captain Kieran Read came on the field as the water-boy.

He told Read he would also be in-charge for the All Blacks' Test against Wales in Cardiff later this month - an impossibility due to Owen's Welsh heritage.

When Hansen was asked about Owen's comment, he also had a quick-witted response ready.

"Most of the banter came from Nigel," he said.

"It would've been good if he'd have reffed this one (match against the Barbarians)."

Hansen made sure to clarify his comments before appearing to slam Owen's officiating this morning, saying he simply officiated the game for what it was.

"It was a festival game, wasn’t it? And he (Owens) is like the rest of us, he's fallen into the trap of doing it.

"He did a good job, I'm not saying that he didn't, but there's no doubt in my mind that he wasn't as focused as he would be if it was a test match... It's difficult for a player to get their head around that and it's also difficult for the ref."

The All Blacks won the match 31-22.