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'Big difference': Hansen takes sly dig at Aussie Super teams after Wallabies visit, will share camp intel with Foz

28th August, 2023
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28th August, 2023
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Steve Hansen has claimed there’s a key area where the Wallabies lag behind the All Blacks after his visit inside Eddie Jones’ camp last week – and explained why he thinks Australia’s Super Rugby Pacific teams should take some blame.

The World Cup-winning coach had a short and surprising stint with the Wallabies that caused consternation across the ditch. Hansen, speaking on The Breakdown, explained his reasoning and said he went with All Blacks coach Ian Foster’s prior knowledge and blessing.

“They’re a nice group of young men. Any team environment has the same sort of feel but has its own identity too,” said Hansen.

England coach Eddie Jones (left) and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen on the pitch after the 2019 Rugby World Cup Semi Final match at International Stadium Yokohama. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

England coach Eddie Jones (left) and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen on the pitch after the 2019 Rugby World Cup Semi Final match at International Stadium Yokohama. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

“They don’t want to be like the All Blacks, they want to be like the Wallabies. They’re young , they’re very excited about this World Cup.

“They know they’ve got an opportunity because of the side of the draw they’re on and they just working away really hard as you’d imagine under Eddie on the training park to get ready to play.

“It’s just another sporting team that has characters, has a bit of banter and has serious moments. It’s really interesting to see the subtle differences between the two countries too.”

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One difference was in the team’s leadership. While the All Blacks boast veteran leaders such as Sam Cane, Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith and the Barretts, the Wallabies have a rookie captain in Will Skelton being backed up by young scrum half Tate McDermott.

Assistant coach Ian Foster and head coach Steve Hansen of the All Blacks

Ian Foster and Steve Hansen. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

“Talking about their leadership group, one thing I can tell you is they’re not in the same place as the All Blacks are with their leadership group. That’s an area that they’re working hard at trying to catch up,” said Hansen before having a sly dig at the Aussie Super Rugby franchises.

“There clearly hadn’t been any development being done in the Super Rugby teams, or not enough of it. So there’s a big difference there. And some of the conversations we’ve had is how we can help them be better at that.”

Hansen said Jones’ approach was the third time he tried to get him involved since the Australian’s return to the Wallabies.

“Eddie asked me quite some time ago, twice in fact, if I would join his coaching group, and the first time was through the whole season, and I said I couldn’t coach against the All Blacks,” said Hansen.

“When he came back that third time I knew he was reasonably in need of a friend and he is a great mate and he’s asked me to come over and have a look at what they’re doing and pass on anything I can see that would help them improve.

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“I had a yarn to Foz about that and once Foz was okay with it, I was okay with it. Rugby is a game that creates friendships all over the world. It’s a game that creates conversations all over the world and Eddie and I have known each other since 1998.

“I felt like he needed a hand. Someone just to basically back up what he was doing. And that’s what I’ve done. I just had conversations with him and coaches – haven’t put on any Wallabies gear.

“I found out a lot of information that I’ll take away with myself. And funnily enough I’ve been lucky enough to sit here all week and watch them prepare for an opponent and you’d be mad if you think I’m not going to pass that onto Foz.”

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