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New Zealand PM responds to former Australia coach with Bledisloe Cup dig

New Zealand PM responds to former Australia coach with Bledisloe Cup dig
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at the Istana in Singapore, May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Feline Lim -
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FELINE LIM(Reuters)
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WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spent the best part of a week avoiding a slanging match with Australian commentator Alan Jones but could not resist a rugby-themed dig at him on Tuesday.

Jones, who coached Australia’s Wallabies rugby team in the 1980s before becoming an outspoken talk radio host, made what he later admitted were “careless” comments about Ardern’s views on climate change last week.

Although Jones apologised, the row has raged on in the Australasian media and Ardern was asked about it again on Tuesday, three days after New Zealand thrashed their neighbours 36-0 to win the Bledisloe Cup for a 17th straight year.

“I don’t have an opinion on every single person who says something about me. Particularly given this is an Australian commentator, we’ve got enough of our own to occupy my time,” the Prime Minister told local TV channel Newshub.

“I understand that he of course used to be closely linked to the Wallabies, so let’s just say I think that revenge is best served through a Bledisloe Cup.”

Australia and New Zealand have competed for the Bledisloe Cup since the early 1930s with the All Blacks enjoying much the better of the rivalry.

One of Australia’s few triumphs came in 1986 when a Wallabies side coached by Jones secured the symbol of trans-Tasman Sea rugby supremacy with an even rarer victory at Eden Park in Auckland.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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