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Deans wanted to be 'the martyr', says All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

Date

Paul Cully

Robbie Deans never wanted the All Blacks' job, says rival Steve Hansen.

Robbie Deans never wanted the All Blacks' job, says rival Steve Hansen. Photo: Simon Alekna

ALL BLACKS coach Steve Hansen has lifted the lid further on his uneasy relationship with Wallabies rival Robbie Deans, questioning whether Deans actually wanted the All Blacks job after the 2007 World Cup and claiming he wanted to be portrayed as ''the martyr'' when he didn't get it.

''If you want my honest opinion, I don't think Robbie wanted it [the All Blacks job] anyway,'' Hansen told The Weight of a Nation, a candid two-hour documentary on the story behind the 2011 World Cup that screened in New Zealand on Sunday night. ''I think Robbie had already signed for Australia.

''I think he just went through the motions and wanted to be the martyr if he didn't get it, so he wins on both sides of the table. That's how I felt about it because you don't go to a [New Zealand Rugby Union] selection meeting and when asked, 'Who is going to be your running mates?' - knowing that the opposition [Graham Henry] has got two pretty good candidates [Hansen and Wayne Smith] behind him - with a wishy-washy answer. He did.

Current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

Current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Photo: Reuters

''And that's why he lost the job, from my understanding. So, did he really want the job?''

The reappointment of Henry, Hansen and Smith - and the issue of Deans's choice of assistants - has long been a subject of conjecture, with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw also addressing the issue in his book, The Open Side, this year. McCaw, who was coached by Deans at the Crusaders and by Henry, Hansen and Smith at national level, formed the opinion that none of the candidates thought they were going to get the job, a position reinforced by Henry and Smith in The Weight of a Nation.

''In our gut, we probably thought that Robbie would get the job,'' Chiefs assistant coach Smith said. ''And I don't think any of us would have begrudged that, because of his record and how well he had done. I still remember - Steve and I didn't have to go to the interview and 'Ted' [Henry] did - the phone went that evening and it was Ted saying, 'We're buggered mate'. And I said, 'Oh well, Ted, at least we had a crack at it and he said, 'Oh yeah, but the interview didn't go well and I think we're buggered.' ''

Henry said he was equally as surprised at getting a second chance. ''I didn't think I'd get the job,'' he said. ''I thought they'd appoint Robbie. I went down to the interview in Wellington, had the interview, didn't do the interview well … got too emotional.''

Henry also revealed that, even after the reappointment, he thought his hold on the job was fragile after Deans coached the Wallabies to a comprehensive 34-19 victory against the All Blacks in Sydney in 2008 - the first of their many duels at Test level.

''We got beaten by Robbie,'' Henry said. ''But that's when people get tight and get together and get totally focused and do the business. And we had to do the business at Eden Park the week after Sydney, otherwise I think we would have gone.''

The All Blacks won that match 39-10, shoring up Henry's position and beginning a period of frustration for Deans and the Wallabies.

59 comments

  • Again not much class shown by Hansen. He certainly has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to Robbie.

    Commenter
    Gareth
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 10:40AM
    • I agree. Hansen comes across as a real prat. Perhaps he is aware, that after his stint as coach of Wales, that he is not actually that good a coach. Instead, he is an average coach of a very good team. Doubt he'd do any good coaching a SXV side.

      Commenter
      Dirk
      Location
      Avoca Beach
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 10:56AM
    • The Australian rugby supporters have been calling for Robbie Deans head for the last two years at least. They havent shown a lot of class

      Commenter
      Pat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 10:56AM
    • +1 Gareth.
      Hanson sounds "a wee but" worried to me.

      Commenter
      FastEddy
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 11:00AM
    • One of things that the NZ rugby media & public previously didn't like about Hansen was his closed attitude when it came to dealing with the media. He simply did not like talking to them & gave short non-informative anwers. He has worked with PR people at the NZRFU to improve this & part of that is that he now answers from the heart as honestly as he can. Should he lie about how he saw the appoint process? Dirk - I would rather have a coach like Hansen who may not be any good at super XV level but leads a top class international team well then a top class super XV coach who can't seem to get a top class international team firing.

      Commenter
      Shane D
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 11:41AM
    • Dirk;
      Yeah, I agree, not a good coach at all.....beat everyone this year except England at Twickenham. Amazing how it is always the players who take the kudos, except of course when they get beaten, then it is the coach's fault. However in your case it is always going to be Hansen's fault even if he wins. Get over yourself,what's your international coaching record like? Hansen has only stated what anyone close to NZ rugby already new....Deans had taken the Big Bucks on offer from O'Neill and the ARU before he interviewed for the ABs job,more fool them and him !!!

      Commenter
      ozkiwi
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 12:32PM
    • Yeah I bet Steve is real envious of Robbie's record...

      Commenter
      Bilbo
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 12:39PM
    • Is it only Hansen's negative comments that get reported is is he that way all the time? Maybe he needs some media performance advice.

      Commenter
      Mikey
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 12:45PM
    • He gave his honest opinion when asked

      Commenter
      piru
      Location
      Perth via Rakaia
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 4:42PM
  • deans was paid twice as much by the nzru to take the australian coaching job.

    Commenter
    nick
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 11:39AM

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