‘Must have lost a bet’: All Black reacts to Steve Hansen joining Wallabies
The man known within rugby circles as ‘Shag’ won two Rugby World Cup titles with the All Blacks, including the drought-breaking triumph in 2011 as an assistant coach.
Hansen left the All Blacks after their unsuccessful quest for a historic three-peat at the 2019 tournament in Japan, with current coach Ian Foster taking over.
But the legacy that Hansen left behind as a legendary All Blacks Head Coach may never be forgotten. Fans in New Zealand hold the former coach in high regard – which is what made this week’s news so shattering.
The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Hansen was going to help Eddie Jones and the Wallabies ahead of the Rugby World Cup. This sent the rugby community into a frenzy on social media.
All Black Dane Coles was left “gobsmacked” and “hurt,” and New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins joked about revoking the former All Blacks coaches’ citizenship.
It’s a big deal. The rivalry between Australia and New Zealand – in any sport for that matter – is fierce. Fans couldn’t quite make sense of the news.
In the leadup to the All Blacks’ clash with the Springboks at Twickenham, lock Scott Barrett has quipped about whether Hansen “lost a bet” before joining the Australians.
“Yeah it is a little bit surprising,” Barrett told reporters on Wednesday.
“I guess it’s professional rugby these days I guess. There must be something in it for him or he lost a bet. Something’s going on.”
Hansen and Wallabies coach Eddie Jones have battled it out in the Test arena many times, but the respect that they share for one another is clear. The two are actually good mates.
But just like Barrett, All Blacks coach Ian Foster has seen the funny side of this perceived coaching saga.
Speaking with reporters, coach Foster joked that Hansen had “agreed to give me three pages of notes about everything that’s going on in their campaign.”
“I chuckle at the headlines, you guys must be pretty excited by it,” Foster said. “He told me a month ago that he was going in.
“He’s good mates with Eddie… there’s no lack of trust at all about his lack of commitment to us and to what we do and sharing stuff. I’ve got no issues really, in fact, we might bring him in for a couple of days ourselves.”
The former All Blacks coach confirmed on Newstalk ZB that he’d only be joining the Wallabies “for about three to four days at the request of Eddie.”
But some rugby fans are still questioning whether it’s the right move for Hansen to make. It’s an opinion that former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons described as “bu******.”
“I’ll speak honestly for a moment, it’s absolutely bu******,” FitzSimons told Martin Devlin on The Platform.
“Steve Hansen is a great rugby man… World Rugby needs Australian rugby to be strong and Steve Hansen is not passing over any messages of All Blacks secrets.
“What he’s doing, he’s wandering around and having a bit of a chat – that’s it. There are no meetings at midnight.
“He was talking to me about the virtues of culture, of a culture where you know each other, you like each other, old school rugby values, and the All Blacks have been terrific on that kind of stuff.”