Tetchy with Ti­et­jens

Hansen hits out at Sir Gor­don

The Dominion Post - - Front Page -

Steve Hansen has brushed off crit­i­cism from for­mer na­tional sevens coach Sir Gor­don Ti­et­jens about New Zealand’s failed Olympic cam­paign, say­ing he was look­ing for ‘‘ex­cuses’’ and ac­cus­ing him of sim­ply try­ing to sell more copies of his new book.

In his new book Legacy, Ti­et­jens ac­cuses Hansen and All Blacks as­sis­tant coach Ian Fos­ter, along with New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew, of not giv­ing him the sup­port he needed to lure the likes of Ben Smith, Ardie Savea and Beau­den Bar­rett across to the na­tional sevens team for the Rio cam­paign.

New Zealand failed mis­er­ably at the Olympics af­ter they were knocked out by Fiji at the quar­ter­fi­nal stage.

At a meet­ing at­tended by Ti­et­jens, along with Hansen, Fos­ter, Tew and high per­for­mance man­ager Don Tricker, the vet­eran sevens coach wrote in his book that he sud­denly re­alised he was not get­ting the sup­port he needed from those in­volved in New Zealand Rugby.

‘‘When we talked about Beau­den Bar­rett, I asked if any­one could tell me why a guy who seemed so keen ini­tially had now com­pletely changed his mind. Neil Sorensen looked at Ian Fos­ter and asked him what he had talked to Beau­den about. Ian said he had never told him he couldn’t play sevens, he had only out­lined a list of things he needed to work on in the fif­teens game.

‘‘I even­tu­ally left the meet­ing feel­ing com­pletely iso­lated and that no lead­er­ship had been shown there. NZR had a doc­u­mented strate­gic goal that pro­claimed gold medals in the men’s and women’s sevens com­pe­ti­tion to be the No 1 pri­or­ity in the 2016 sea­son.’’

Af­ter touch­ing down in Lon­don with the All Blacks, Hansen said he thought Ti­et­jens was of­fer­ing up ex­cuses.

‘‘He’s got to sell his book so he’s got to put some­thing of in­ter­est in there,’’ he said.

‘‘Yep, I did say why does Ben Smith have to play four tour­na­ments? I thought he could’ve played one or none he was that good. That’s the only way he was

"I think he's look­ing for ex­cuses but it'll sell a few books, I sup­pose." Steve Hansen, left, on Gor­don Ti­et­jens, right

go­ing to go be­cause he didn’t want to leave the High­landers.

‘‘That’s what we tried to ex­plain to him [Ti­et­jens] and he made the choice him­self. I’m not sure why he’s say­ing there was no lead­er­ship – the lead­er­ship falls on his head. The con­di­tions of Ben Smith play­ing – com­ing from Ben Smith him­self – were that he was avail­able but he didn’t want to play four tour­na­ments.

‘‘When he [Ti­et­jens] heard that he made a de­ci­sion. It’s his de­ci­sion to make. No-one else in­ter­fered with that de­ci­sion. I think he’s look­ing for ex­cuses per­son­ally but it’ll sell a few books, I sup­pose.’’

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