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Hansen owes no debt to New Zealand rugby and as such should coach elsewhere

By Hamish Bidwell
Steve Hansen. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

I was listening to an interview with an English actor recently.

I’m paraphrasing it slightly, but the bloke made one remark that has stayed with me.

“Being an idealist will make a hypocrite of you eventually.’’


I was reminded of that comment when I read that Steve Hansen was doing some consultancy work with the Wallabies.

I don’t care who Hansen works for. I don’t care what he tells them and I especially don’t mind if he’s paid for it.

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Now, in this instance, the wagons have been circled quickly.

Reports are that Hansen informed All Blacks coach Ian Foster before accepting the role, that he isn’t being paid and nor is he giving away trade secrets.

No, he’s merely running his eye over Australia’s Rugby World Cup squad for a couple of days, as a favour to old mate Eddie Jones.

But what if he wasn’t? What if he was actually joining the Wallaby staff full-time? What if he was giving Jones chapter and verse on the All Blacks?

Would or more importantly – should – anyone care?

I don’t watch rugby through an All Blacks eyepatch.

In the same way that my admiration for club and franchise teams waxes and wanes, so it is that I look more favourably upon certain iterations of the All Blacks than others.


My view is informed by the people running, coaching and playing for those teams. Do they behave and play in a way that appeals to me or do they not?

I’m not wedded to teams for life, because teams are not static. They evolve and some are simply more likeable, relatable and capable than others.

Hansen used to have obligations to the All Blacks and New Zealand, but now he doesn’t. He should be free to ply his trade however and wherever he pleases.

I’m certainly not so idealistic about the All Blacks as to suggest no-one who’s ever been in that environment should ever hitch their wagon somewhere else.


In Hansen’s case, I would be delighted if he were head coach of another nation. I think he’d struggle with most of them, because he was spoiled by the talent he had here, but his involvement would certainly raise interest when his team met the All Blacks.

We are talking about professional sport, after all.

As I alluded to, Hansen was quick to get into damage control here. He got his version of events out quickly and made sure everything looked as innocent as possible.

But, my point is, he shouldn’t have to. We, as the viewing public, should be more mature about this stuff.

We shouldn’t have any team on such a pedestal that we immediately cry foul when a coach or player takes a job somewhere else.

Hansen owes no debt to New Zealand rugby and nor does any coach or player for that matter.

After all, we can be pretty cut throat with the ones we don’t want anymore.


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Ferell 337 days ago

The world's best coach is looking for insight how the All Blacks are doing things very strange is Jones overrated or is he struggling to get the best out of his players

Jim 337 days ago

AB an amazing team. Standard setters !!!! Kieran Read, a gentleman and a rugby Titan. Win or lose they’re always a class act and you never hear them moaning…unlike their supporters who’re a bunch of moaning arseholes…and Brett Reginald Ingham, if you’re out there, that means you too!

ruckaa 337 days ago

hamish bidwell is a words guy puts you right there in the pocket in the essence so talented that talent comes from the best talking real quality talking talk .talk talk then write write write you can tell he must have been awsome in his team of one opinionated journalist he would be the expert first hand on keeping intellectual secrets journalists guard their sources well guess what hamish so do we and dickhead hansen knows our intellectual stuff i only call him dickhead cause his timing sucks rugby is a game of attrition at world cup it is vicious where the fine detail is paramount hansen knows everything fozzie and co have done. hes a sir BULLSHIT like all the others he didnt climb everest he should just shut up go to the world cup eat the good food enjoy the praise and get off the frikken stage geeezus wayne... ker

ed 337 days ago

Hansen always up himself just like Henry both got fired from Wales both were average coach's but they were in the old boys group

Clarence 337 days ago

Didn’t Graham Henry assist the Argentinain team a few years ago??? No issues then?

David 337 days ago

as a formerpoliceman and coach maybe he might help eddie with his press conferences as he used to say lets flush the dunny and move on

Willie 337 days ago

I am more worried about yellow, red cards and Bunker decisions.
Hansen [and Jones] will have no impact on the WRC Final outcome. Those other issues will.
However, given Hansen's history with the ABs he might have been wiser to be less public or remain loyal to the country which enabled his success, particularly if any "outside" involvement included Aust.

CO 337 days ago

Hansen is one of the great rugby myths. An average coach that inherited one of the greatest Allblack forward packs, the Allblacks greatest first five along with an array of high quality backs. By 2015 Richie McCaw was like the great Khan in charge of a unstoppable horde that he'd personally taken charge of after the 2007 debacle. By 2017 with McCaw and the other key backbone gone what was left was Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino on the downhill slide with a noticeable drop in standards as the multi coloured boots were everywhere. Hansen served up uninspiring, insipid performances against the Lions, a team that had no right to draw against the Allblacks, by 2019 the Allblacks were pedestrian, predictable and plodders.
NZ rugby if it had any decency would offer the Wallabies some genuine assistance like Clayton McMillan for a few weeks as NZ benefits from a strong Australian rugby scene.

Silk 337 days ago

I can't believe the hoohaaa about Hansen. Rugby is a PROFESSIONAL sport. He should coach and earn money wherever he wants to. Jones helped the Boks in 2007. Rassie is off to Ireland after the WC and will most probably coach Ireland in a few years time. So what? As a Bok supporter I have no problem with that. Look at what a profound effect NZ coaches have had on the Northern teams over the last decade. I.e Wales and Ireland. Foreign coaches have improved world rugby in general. Long may it continue.

Shaylen 337 days ago

New Zealand coaches have coached in nations around the world. Hansen is hardly setting a precedent here. It is the first time that we see an incredibly successful former All Blacks coach helping a top tier rival. But then again this hasn't occurred before because theres just been 3 All Blacks coaches (including the current one) in the last 20 years or so

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