Former New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is helping Eddie Jones's Australia in the lead-up to this year's Rugby World Cup
World Cup-winning former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has a new job – and it’s one that has flummoxed his former charges.
It turns out that Hansen is helping out arch ANZAC rivals Australia with their preparations for the World Cup in France.
The priceless reaction of hooker Dane Coles – a key member of Hansen’s 2015 World Cup squad – to news that the coach every rugby fan in New Zealand knows as ‘Shag’ is working for the old enemy was caught on a video that has since gone viral.
“Shag what are you up to?,” Coles asked, clearly surprised on hearing the news from members of the New Zealand media.
He went on: “It hurts a little bit, to be fair.
“I know he’s tight with Eddie [Jones], they’re good mates … but he’s a bit of an icon in the All Black set up.
“I’m actually a bit speechless. A bit disappointing but we can’t do much about that.”
It didn’t take long for the New Zealand squad, preparing for a World Cup warm-up against South Africa at Twickenham, to get used to the idea. Or, at least, how to react to questions about it.
Team-mate Ardie Savea’s response to a similar question was brief. “He’s got to do what he’s got to do.”
It was also unequivocal. No more questions about Steve Hansen’s new job.
Meanwhile, back in New Zealand, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins joked to news agency AAP: “We should cancel his citizenship.”
Steve Hansen himself spoke about his new job on New Zealand radio. It turns out things aren’t entirely as they may seem.
“I haven’t joined the Wallabies for the Rugby World Cup,” he told Newstalk ZB – in a statement that will put All Blacks fans’ minds at rest.
“I’m here for about three or four days at the request of Eddie, a good mate of mine, just to give him some feedback on what he’s doing.
“Rugby is bigger than all of us.”
Nor, he said, is he getting paid for the gig. He’s just doing a favour for a mate. Which is all right, then. Unless Australia do better than New Zealand in France in the next couple of months. Then there might be a problem.
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