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'Martyr' Deans didn't want Kiwi job, says Hansen


Paul Cully

'Martyr' ... Robbie Deans.

'Martyr' ... Robbie Deans. 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.

''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.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
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SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
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FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
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NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
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ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
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IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
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TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
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WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
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SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
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SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
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ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
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CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
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NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
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SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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