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Steve Hansen Has An Interesting Take On All Blacks' Current Issues

Steve Hansen Has An Interesting Take On All Blacks' Current Issues
By Gary Connaughton

The All Blacks find themselves in a very unfamiliar position at the moment. Having been the dominant force in world rugby for over a decade, their recent blip has brought about a real identity crisis in the country.

They expect to be the best, meaning a series loss at home to Ireland was never going to go down well. Their sky high standards have slipped ever so slightly starting with their defeat to England at the 2019 World Cup, with many within the country now doubting their capacity to win the tournament in 2023.

While their current team is world class, it is fair to say that it is not quite at the standard of all-conquering New Zealand sides of the past. However, it is their coaching ticket that has received the majority of the criticism.

Ian Foster took over the head coach position at the end of 2019, having previously had a long stint as Steve Hansen's assistant. Many are placing the blame for their recent issues at his feet.

Steve Hansen on New Zealand's current issues

Steven Hansen doesn't necessarily agree with that.

The World Cup winning coach knows Foster well having worked alongside him for the best part of a decade and feels that the root of their problems lie elsewhere.

Speaking to New Zealand radio station Today FM, the 63-year old said the issues currently experienced by the All Blacks come from the country's failings at board level.


The relationship between the board and the [executive] with the players at the moment is probably the worst it's ever been.

I don't think they are doing their job right at the moment.

There have been a lot of reviews of [ex-New Zealand women coach] Glenn Moore and Ian Foster on their coaching ability recently but when was the last time the NZ Rugby Union did a review on itself? Our high performance department at the moment has to be squirming about our record at Under-20 level.

We haven’t won a tournament. We started off with the Under-20s in 2008, we won the first four and we won in ’15 and ’17. Since then we’ve finished seventh and fourth and England and France have dominated the tournaments. Are we getting that side of our business right? I don’t think so.

Many had anticipated a coaching change after the series loss to Ireland, with Crusaders' Scott Robertson the favourite for the position.

However, Ian Foster will remain in his role for now. He recently named his squad for two tests away to South Africa. His position could well come under review again should the All Blacks fail to perform on that occasion.


Hansen has backed the coaching ability of his former assistant, saying that some of the treatment he has received in recent times has been very unfair.

I think all good coaches go through adversity in their career and we're seeing that now with Ian Foster.

He won’t be happy with how things have gone of late but I don’t think the issue is just inside the team. I think there are bigger issues than that.

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.

I don't think the issue is just inside the team, I think the issue is bigger than that.

It's not acceptable to write or say things on social media that are cruel, nasty, malicious, spiteful, vicious…straight out bullying really.

It’s the world we live in now with trolling. There’s no care or consideration of the person you’re writing about or their family. I can guarantee you that the people doing it had it done to them they’d melt away in the corner. We’re better than that in New Zealand but, unfortunately, we get emotional.

The two games in South Africa at the start of next month will certainly be an interesting watch.

A couple of poor performance could well leave the All Blacks on a lookout for a new head coach just over a year away from the start of the World Cup.


SEE ALSO: French Legend Feels South African Sides Will Devalue The Champions Cup

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