Hansen lashes me­dia: Feud? What feud?

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

WELLING­TON: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has damp­ened down talk of a “feud” with his Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions coun­ter­part War­ren Gat­land and said the me­dia had blown their ex­changes out of pro­por­tion.

Ear­lier this week, Hansen branded Gat­land’s com­plaints about All Blacks play­ers div­ing at the legs of Conor Mur­ray in the first test as “des­per­ate”, which gave rise to a slew of ar­ti­cles about how the two New Zealan­ders did not get on.

Hansen, whose side can wrap up the three­Test se­ries with vic­tory at Welling­ton Re­gional Sta­dium tomorrow, played down sug­ges­tions that he was in a war of words with Gat­land.

“I read some­where that I, ‘lashed out at War­ren Gat­land’,” Hansen said yes­ter­day.

“I haven’t lashed out at (Gat­land), at all. I’ve got a lot of re­spect for him and I’m look­ing for­ward to hav­ing a beer with him and a chuckle about life.

“We’ve got a lot of com­mon in­ter­ests. He likes rac­ing horses and so do I. He coaches Wales and I’ve been through that ex­pe­ri­ence my­self.

“It’s the me­dia that ramp it up be­cause it sells you guys’ news­pa­pers. Who am I to say stop it?

“But I do look at it and say: ‘Well, that’s ac­tu­ally not how it went’.”

Hansen also hit out at the New Zealand Her­ald’s de­ci­sion to run a car­toon de­pict­ing Gat­land as a clown, echo­ing a sim­i­lar ef­fort tar­get­ing Aus­tralia coach Michael Cheika last year.

“I think it’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing. It’s one thing to have a bit of ban­ter and you guys beef that up to make it big­ger than it re­ally is,” Hansen added.

“To come out and do that is ridi­cul­ing some­body. He doesn’t de­serve it and, at the end of the day, we’re all coaches try­ing to do what we think’s right.”

Gat­land also spoke about the sup­posed feud yes­ter­day. “I don’t think there is any hos­til­ity from this side, hope­fully we can have a good game and beer after­wards.” – Reuters

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