All Blacks coach Steve Hansen lit the fuse on simmering tension with rival Warren Gatland Monday, labelling the British and Irish Lions mentor "a bit desperate" for accusing his side of dangerous play.
An irate Hansen took exception to Gatland claiming the world champions targeted his scrum-half Conor Murray during their 30-15 win over the Lions in the opening Test in Auckland.
Hansen, who has traded barbs with Gatland throughout the series, called talkback radio to let off steam.
"It's predictable comments from Gatland, isn't it? Two weeks ago we cheated in the scrums and last week it was blocking and now he's saying this," he told Radio Sport.
"It's really, really disappointing to hear it because what he's implying is we're intentionally going out to injure somebody."Hansen said that was never the case and Gatland, as a fellow New Zealander, should know better.
"We've never been like that and as a New Zealander I'd expect him to know the New Zealand psyche that it's not about intentionally trying to hurt anybody," he said.
"It's about playing hard and fair."
Hansen said the comments "take the gloss" off a great Test match that produced fine performances from both sides.
He said Gatland never raised any issues immediately after the match, so he was at a loss to explain why he was bringing them up so long after the final whistle.
"I guess he might be a bit desperate or something but I'm not sure, I don't know why he'd be saying it," he said.
Gatland told reporters on Sunday that Murray had been singled out by the All Blacks and he would speak to the referees about the issue ahead of the second Test in Wellington on Saturday.
"There was a couple of times on Conor Murray there was a charge down where someone's dived at his legs," he said.
"I thought it was a little bit dangerous, and after he's kicked he's been pushed a few times (too)."