Rugby

Steve Hansen Had Plenty To Say About Ireland And The All Blacks

Steve Hansen Had Plenty To Say About Ireland And The All Blacks

If the Lions have optimism going into this summer's tour of New Zealand, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says it should not be due to Ireland's win against his side last November.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Hansen highlighted the absence of players such as Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock for that game in Chicago as a factor.

If the Lions are going to read too much into that, it would be a mistake. Because they are not Ireland, they are the Lions.

I'm sure Gatland will come with his own style and way of wanting to play the game and that will not be the same as Joe Schmidt. It [defeat] was inevitable at some point for us.

We could look at the fact that we had three top locks out and other absences too. But then we would be ignoring the inconvenient fact that we didn't play well. So, there were some good lessons in there for us.

The All Blacks received plenty of criticism in the media for their physical following the second November test in Dublin. It was an encounter which saw CJ Stander and Robbie Henshaw both depart the game early with concussions.

Hansen says that Ireland we equally as physical in that game.

It was a physical game but we went at Ireland no harder than they went at us.

They were pretty quick to point out what we did but no one was pointing out the stuff they did.

In a game of rugby there are going to be some things that go the way they shouldn't go because it is a dynamic, physical, moving game. Look at the Robbie Henshaw one. Sam Cane goes in to make a tackle and the guy [Henshaw] pirouettes. It's not something that happens often so you can't anticipate it.

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Presumably in reference to Johnny Sexton's attempt to prevent Beauden Barrett from scoring his side's second try in Dublin, Hansen said the Ireland out-half should have received a yellow card in that game.

Malakai's high tackle was a high tackle. Is it our fault the ref saw it [only] as a yellow card? But yet he didn't yellow card [Johnny] Sexton for taking other people's heads off. A lot was made of it all but I think it was just a really good game of Test rugby, with two teams hell-bent on playing well and going for the win.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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