Steve Hansen has criticised counterpart Warren Gatland after Wales’ head coach revealed he “hated” coaching the British and Irish Lions in the recent series against New Zealand.
The All Blacks coach was scathing in his assessment of Gatland’s comments, which came in the aftermath of the drawn Test series against the back-to-back world champions, and even went as far to suggest his countryman should change career.
The swipe by Hansen re-opens a war of words between the two coaches and Gatland admitted he loathed the negativity and the press coverage he endured in his homeland, despite it being only the second side the Lions had avoided a lost series in New Zealand.
Hansen admitted he was shocked by Gatland’s claim that he “hated the tour. I did. I just hated the press and the negativity in New Zealand.”
“Why would you hate coaching the Lions? If you hate coaching, don’t do it,” Hansen told New Zealand’s Radio Sport.
Warren Gatland wore a clown nose when he arrived for his post-match press conference after the Lions' third Test in New Zealand.
“I love coaching any team I’ve been involved in – that’s the reason why I’m doing it. I’m lucky enough to coach the All Blacks which is fantastic, if you are lucky enough to coach the Lions it is also fantastic.”
Hansen suggested that criticism was part and parcel with the life of an elite rugby coach and he relished the high expectations on his shoulders.
“Welcome to our world,” added Hansen. “You are under constant pressure, constant scrutiny. People expect you to be able to front up and do the job well.
“In the All Blacks’ case, we are expected to win every Test match and win it well. You don’t want to change those expectations – they drive your own inner expectations to be even higher. It drives that necessity to want to always be better.”
He added: “Our fans, our country expect us to aim high, to play well, they expect us to win. I love that.”
Hansen has announced an extended 37-man squad for their upcoming touring squad for the five-match European tour which includes four uncapped players.
The All Blacks head coach admitted his side were missing several high profile players but believes is looking forward to the “great challenge” of facing opposition such as the Barbarians, live on Sky Sports Action, and a French XV during their schedule.
Barbarians vs New Zealand
November 4, 2017, 2:30pm
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