If the nation wanted to know Steve Hansen’s thoughts after the shock Rugby World Cup exit at the hands of England, they had to wait a while.
At the end of Steve Hansen’s most brutal defeat at All Blacks coach, his post mortem wasn’t seen live by viewers in New Zealand.
As the interview began, with an ashen faced Hansen, moments after the 19-7 defeat to England, Spark Sport made the bizarre decision to cut to a commercial break.
It meant that Hansen’s summary and explanation wasn’t viewed by anyone until almost 30 minutes after he had spoken, when Spark finally replayed the interview.
It was a strange decision, given the magnitude of the moment, but continued the theme of a bizzarre night from a New Zealand point of view.
However, Spark Sport responded on Twitter to the mass of complaints, pinning TVNZ for the error.
“Sorry for the interruption. This was a decision taken by our production partner TVNZ who then played the interview shortly after the break,” they said.
When his interview was finally broadcast Hansen offered no excuses, giving all the credit to England but emphasising the pride in his team.
“Firstly you have to congratulate England played a tremendous game of footy on the day they deserved to win the game.”
“But I’m really proud of our team. Just on tonight we weren’t good enough. We have to take it on the chin.”
Captain Kieran Read had not much more in the way of an explanation, in the wake of the All Blacks’ shock exit.
At the conclusion of his 51st and final game as captain, Read was understandably dejected at the final whistle, as he tried to come to terms with New Zealand’s defeat.
He admitted they couldn’t get into the match, and would have to live with a lot of regrets.
The All Blacks were second best from the start, when England powered through the heart of their defence before Manu Tuilagi crossed after two minutes.
The reigning champions were bustled off their game in a relentless first half by the men in white, and the expected comeback in the second half never came, while the margin could have been higher but for two disallowed England tries.
“I guess it is pretty hard to put into words what it means,” said Read. “But you have to give English the credit they came out and started extremely well and we just probably couldn’t get into that game.”
It was the most inaccurate performance from an All Blacks side in an World Cup match since Cardiff in 2007, with a series of errors, poor decisions and strangely passive play.
And when the All Blacks did have some momentum, they failed to convert their opportunities.
“I think we will look at that game and there will be so many what ifs,” said Read. “We will look at the game and there will be so many what ifs and things we could have done better and on a stage like this you can’t afford it and it cost us.”
England captain Owen Farrell admitted that their intense start, which included a unique challenge to the haka, was a key part of their plan.
“It’s a big game, it’s a World Cup semifinal against the All Blacks. It the biggest game you can get on this stage. We felt like we prepared well and we started the game well.”
“In all these big games teams get physical and they go at each other from the off. We knew that that was going to come our way and we wanted to make sure we were playing that game too. “