Rarely has NZ rugby in come under such intense scrutiny as it has over the last ten days.
Following a 2-1 series lost to Ireland, New Zealand’s first three Test series loss on home soil since 1994, and fourth loss in five games, the All Blacks have been under the pump.
New Zealand public and media alike have been baying for blood, calling for the sacking of head coach Ian Foster and captain Sam Cane.
Few changes were implemented, with only minor tweaks occurring to the squad, while assistant coaches Broad Mooar and John Plumtree both lost their jobs, Jason Ryan the beneficiary coming in as forwards coach.
Now, however, former All Blacks coach Steven Hansen has launched a scathing assessment of the state of rugby in New Zealand, particularly lashing out at the larger New Zealand Rugby body.
Interview With Today FM Provides Platform For Hansen
Few voices are more credible when it comes to New Zealand rugby, or rugby full-stop, than Steven Hansen.
The former All Blacks coach has the highest winning percentage of any coach who has overseen 15 or more Tests—88.79%. He’s been named World Rugby Coach of the Year on four occasions, and led New Zealand to more silverware than most countries could dream of, including the World Cup in 2015.
So when he speaks up against the state of rugby in New Zealand, people listen.
And that’s exactly what he did earlier this week, speaking to Today FM, accusing NZ Rugby of essentially being the cause of all the issues in All Blacks performance currently.
NZ Rugby to Blame for All Blacks Failing, Says Hansen
Hansen has called the relationship between current players and the board the worst its ever been.
“Their job [NZ Rugby] is to run it with strength and leadership but in a way that you’re going to look after the people that work for you,” Hansen said. “They’ve come out and aired all their dirty washing in the front part of the property rather than out the back. So, the relationship between the board and the exec and players at the moment is probably the worst it’s ever been.”
Hansen went on to stress that during the All Blacks’ golden years, when they were winning consistently between 2010 to 2019, this dynamic was much healthier.
“If you look back to when we were really successful from about 2010 through to 2019, which was our most successful era, the board and the exec at the rugby union were humming. There was complete togetherness and connection with the actual All Blacks team.”
Hansen Advocates For More Loyalty, Better Development
Going on to address what he believes needs to change, Hansen ultimately advocated for more loyalty within the New Zealand Rugby ranks.
“We talk about he tāngata, he tāngata in New Zealand Rugby and that’s a Māori proverb for the people, the people,” Hansen added. “I didn’t see much of that in protecting Glenn Moore and Ian Foster.”
The former All Blacks coach also pointed out our poor record at the under 20 level the past five years as an area of concern for New Zealand Rugby. If the All Blacks are going to thrive moving forward, it starts with better development at the under 20 level.
Time will tell whether Hansen’s assessment of New Zealand Rugby is accurate, and whether or not any of his recommendations will be actioned.