NZ coach Hansen to make Aussie trip
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen (C) talks to his players during a training session at AMI Stadium in Christchurch. Photo: Getty Images
WELLINGTON: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says his father Des, who died on Tuesday, would kick his backside if he didn't travel to Australia for the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane on Saturday.
Des Hansen's illness and death led to speculation that his son might be absent as the All Blacks strive for a third successive win over the Wallabies this season.
It would also be their 17th straight Test success since losing to Australia in Brisbane 14 months ago.
At a media conference in Christchurch before the All Blacks' departure today, Hansen said he always intended being in Brisbane in respect of his rugby-loving father.
"He would roll over and shoot me if I didn't," Hansen said.
"You'd be lying if you didn't say it has been a really tough week, but we're a tight family and the rugby family has been great.
"The distraction of going to training Monday, Tuesday and today has been awesome. I know he would kick my backside if I didn't do the job right."
Hansen bristled at a suggestion that the Test was a dead rubber, with the All Blacks already having retained the Bledisloe Cup for yet another year.
"It definitely is not a dead rubber. It is a Test match against Australia and along with South Africa, they rank as our main rivals."
The All Blacks outplayed the Wallabies in Sydney 27-19, and in Wellington 22-0, but Hansen refused to accept the Australians were easy-beats.
"The last time we played them at Suncorp they beat us. They've got a record of 17 out of 20 at Suncorp so that makes them a dangerous animal.
"We know it will be physical and we know they'll be in the game for long periods. We've got to manage that and make sure when we get our opportunities we take them."