All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has hit back at what he called a “disrespectful” question from a Kiwi journalist, shortly after his team were sent packing from the Rugby World Cup by England.
At his post-match press conference, following the All Blacks’ lacklustre 19-7 semifinal defeat, a clearly dejected Hansen chided TV3 reporter Andrew Gourdie for asking whether the All Blacks failed to turn up with the right mentality.
Hansen, answering a question directed at All Blacks captain Kieran Read, took offense at the suggestion that the All Blacks might have underestimated the English – and offered to give Gourdie a “rugby education” if he wanted to “spend some time outside”.
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Here is how the exchange unfolded:
Gourdie: “Kieran, Steve mentioned before… he said we needed to get hungry and desperate before it was too late. From your point of view, from the players’ point of view I suppose, did the team turn up with the right attitude tonight?”
Read: “Yeah, I think we did. You’ve seen how hard we worked out there. Definitely the boys really wanted it. I think with the detail of the match it didn’t go our way but the work rate and how much we really wanted it was there. You could see it even in the first half when you could see we came back and hung in there. It’s really gutting when it doesn’t go your way. It’s a hard thing to take and we’re all hurting.”
Hansen: “I’d just like to clear that up. I think it’s quite a disrespectful question to suggest that the All Blacks turned up not being hungry. They were desperate to win the game. Because I asked them at halftime to get hungrier doesn’t mean to say they didn’t turn up pretty hungry. There’s a big difference and if you want to spend some time outside I’ll give you a rugby education on that one. But to turn up and say an All Blacks team comes to the semifinal of a Rugby World Cup with the amount of ability and the history it has behind it …that’s not hungry, that’s a pretty average question.”
The Herald has been told by several sources at the press conference that Hansen’s tone and demeanour wasn’t threatening in his response.
The exchange was later tweeted by Irish rugby journalist Murray Kinsella who quoted the “disrespectful question”.
Fans have since chimed in with their thoughts on Twitter, some calling it out as a “valid question”.
“Very valid question. Made a big deal all week of how they were going to disrupt England’s Lineout ball – not what they were going to do to win, rarely looked like themselves, looked rattled when England weren’t [sic] in awe at the Haka and never got going,” one fan wrote.
“Sore losers, no one likes losing but you have to be as gracious in defeat as victory. Unbelievable stuff from England today,” another wrote.