Bristol announced the signing of All Black backrow Steven Luatua earlier this week. The 25-year-old, who has 15 caps for New Zealand, will join the Aviva Premiership club ahead of next season.
Luatua's arrival from Auckland Blues will coincide with that of Pat Lam at the club. To much disappointment in Connacht and Irish rugby in general, it was confirmed back in December that Lam will depart the province to become Bristol head coach next season.
Luatua is the first major signing of the Lam area.
One individual particularly annoyed by this is All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen. Speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Hansen said he was disappointed that Luatua's management team did not engage more with New Zealand Rugby regarding a new contract.
It's always disappointing when you lose a good player, regardless of who he is.
In this case it's double disappointing because of the lack of communication. It wasn't as if we were able to engage in the process.
Some agents, once they get an offer, they'll come to the table and negotiate; others don't. Steven's crew didn't want to talk, because they are fearful we are going to change these guys minds which is disappointing.
Hansen also expressed his annoyance with Pat Lam, who he expected would take a bit more consideration regarding Luatua's All Blacks career.
He spoke briefly to the contracts team, and he's been tapped on the shoulder by Pat Lam, which is disappointing too.
If you're an ex-New Zealander, you should be a bit mindful about players' careers. But when they decide to go, you've got to support them. Steven has made that decision, so we'll do that.