Rugby Union

License article

'That's called Australia pinching our players': All Blacks hit out at ARU after Harris seals draw

Steve Hansen hinted there will be no recriminations following the All Blacks' dud performance against the Wallabies.

But the All Blacks coach was not so charitable with the Australian Rugby Union who continue to recruit New Zealand players and struck the jackpot on Saturday night when ex-Kiwi Mike Harris kicked five penalties in the 18-all draw. Harris qualifies for the Wallabies due to an Australian grandmother.

Up Next

Storm seal minor premiership with victory over Knights

Video duration

More Sports HQ Videos

Contrasting reactions to the Bledisloe

Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen summarise the game.

Hansen wishes the Wallabies would blood more of their own players.

He is clearly annoyed by the Western Force recently signing ex-All Blacks halfback Alby Mathewson and Wellington's promising outside back Jason Woodward.

When asked if the New Zealand Rugby Union had a "system breakdown" because talented players such as Harris were playing in Australia, Hansen replied:

"That's called Australia pinching our players - it's not a system breakdown."


While he said he did not begrudge Harris his decision to leave New Zealand to sign with the Queensland Reds, he was annoyed they continued to recruit Kiwi players instead of developing their own.

"I am pleased he [Harris] has achieved his dream ... what I find frustrating is that Australia is trying to build their game and put more franchises in place but all they are doing is putting franchises in place and stealing our players.

"They should get their own house in order and develop their own. There must be players there good enough.

"Australia has been a breeding ground for gun players for centuries."

Hansen noted past Wallaby home-grown stars such as the famous Ella brothers and Michael Hawker had served their country well.

"It's just too easy to come [to New Zealand] and say 'Oh well, why don't you come over'."

Despite being unable to score a try against the injury-ravaged Aussies at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, Hansen hinted his 32-man squad to tour the northern hemisphere next month will be stacked with his current crop.

"It will be fair to say most of this squad will be going - if not all of them."

Hansen's refusal to wield the axe is confirmation the squad, which will be named next Monday, is largely set in stone.

Ali Williams, providing he can prove his fitness and represent Auckland in this weekend's NPC final against Canterbury in Christchurch, is guaranteed to tour as the fourth lock.

Hansen has spoken to Auckland coach Wayne Pivac who said Williams was confident the numbness in his back that prevented him playing the semifinal against Wellington would subside and allow him to book his ticket for the four-match tour.

Williams has not played for the All Blacks since their second test against Ireland in June; an operation corrected a knee complaint and Hansen remains keen to utilise his vast knowledge as a backup for Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick.

Beauden Barrett is guaranteed to tour as the third first five-eighth and Hansen indicated Tawera Kerr-Barlow's hot performances for the Chiefs will mean Canterbury's Andy Ellis remains on the outer despite the Waikato halfback's fluctuating form in the NPC.

Kerr-Barlow will back up Aaron Smith and Piri Weepu and the third hooker is likely to be either Dan Coles or Hika Elliot.

Although Hansen mentioned he was impressed by the form of Canterbury outside back Johnny McNicholl and Auckland fullback Charles Piutau, he is unlikely to have room for them.

He has already introduced newcomers Sam Cane, Charlie Faumuina, Julian Savea, Aaron Smith, Romano and Retallick, as well as revived the aspirations of Tamati Ellison - enough new blood has been introduced this year.

Fairfax NZ News


Comment are now closed