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Hansen: Relationship between New Zealand Rugby and All Blacks 'worst it's ever been'

The former All Blacks head coach also believes Ireland were ‘outstanding’ in claiming a 2-1 series win in New Zealand.

Former New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen.
Former New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

FORMER ALL BLACKS head coach Steve Hansen believes the relationship between New Zealand Rugby and the international squad is “probably the worst it’s ever been” following the recent series defeat to Ireland.

In an interview with New Zealand’s Today FM, Hansen also backed under-fire head coach Ian Foster after questioning New Zealand Rugby’s (NZR) role in the All Blacks’ recent slump.

“The relationship between the board and the exec with the players at the moment is probably the worst it’s ever been,” Hansen said.

“I don’t think they (NZR) are doing their job right at the moment.”

Hansen served as New Zealand head coach between 2012-2019, and feels the relationship between union and players was in a much healthier state during this period.

“The board and exec were humming, there was complete togetherness and connection with the actual All Black team.”

Current head coach Foster has come in for heavy criticism as the fallout from the series loss to Ireland continues. Earlier this week, NZR sacked forwards coach John Plumtree and backs coach Brad Mooar, and brought in Crusaders forwards coach Jason Ryan.

Foster – who succeeded Hansen following a long spell working as his assistant coach – has the worst win record of any All Blacks head coach in the professional era.

“I’m probably sitting in the seat best to be able to quantify whether he is a good coach or not, because I coached with him for 16 years at the highest level. He is a very good coach,” Hansen continued.

“I don’t think the issue is just inside the team, I think the issue is bigger than that.”

Hansen also believes Ireland didn’t get enough credit for their performances in New Zealand.

“They were outstanding. There are not many of their tight five who wouldn’t make the All Blacks at the moment, in fact, I’d say there is probably none, they would all make it.”

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Hansen was also asked if current Crusaders coach Scott Robertson would be a good fit for the New Zealand job. Robertson recently stated his ambition to win the World Cup with two different countries.

“I think as long as you are flexible in your thinking and you develop your rugby mind as you go, you can do that here in New Zealand, or you can do it overseas,” Hansen added. 

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