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Hansen's withering Nations Championship message

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Hansen's withering message for European teams about discarded Nations Championship

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has accused the Six Nations teams of acting selfishly in their refusal to back the Nations Championship.

Attempts to establish an annual global competition culminating in an end-of-year final hit the buffers in June due to a lack of support from Europe’s elite, frustrating the cash-strapped southern hemisphere unions.

New Zealand clash with England in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final and Hansen insists the rarity of the fixture will not improve if the Six Nations continue to serve their own interests.

“South Africa are always going to be our biggest rival because of all the history that comes with it and because we play each other so regularly,” Hansen said.

“We’ve played England once in the last five years and so it’s hard to build a rivalry when you don’t play each other.

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“If we could get the Six Nations to come on board for a global season, we’d be able to do that. Once they do that, then they’re starting to think about the game rather than themselves. There’s a headline for you…”

With host Japan having shrugged off their tier two status to reach a first quarter-final at this World Cup, Hanszen added: “Japan have been outstanding. After the game (against South Africa), you could see visibly how much it meant to them.

“Emotionally, they were spent and that’s a great sign for rugby in Japan. People in Japan respect that they gave everything they had. South Africa on the night were a little better but I don’t think the scoreline was a true reflection.

“For me, success is not always about winning. Success is about giving your best and they gave their best. What more could you ask from them? They’ve given everything they could and they’re a huge success story of the tournament.”

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Hansen's withering message for European teams about discarded Nations Championship