In an unexpected move that has caught many by surprise, Steve Hansen, the former head coach of the World Cup-winning All Blacks has joined Eddie Jones at the Wallabies, a decision that stands out as one of the most unconventional in recent memory.
Hansen will be lending his expertise to the Australian team as they prepare for their upcoming warm-up match against France. His presence is anticipated to extend for about a week, during which he will provide valuable insights and an external perspective to the Wallabies’ preparations.
The connection between Hansen and Jones goes back a long way. They first crossed paths in 1997 when Jones was leading the Brumbies and Hansen was at the helm of the Crusaders. Over the years, their paths would continue to intersect, with both sides continuing to coach some of the greatest sides in world rugby.
This week, Hansen will share his wealth of experience and offer fresh perspectives to the Wallabies as they fine-tune their playing style in preparation for the upcoming tournament. Although the 64-year-old has not yet donned the Wallabies’ attire, he will be present at the weekend match.
In a historic match, England managed to defeat New Zealand 19-7 in the 2019 World Cup, putting an end to the All Blacks’ long-standing reign as World Champions. Just this year, Jones and Hansen faced off as head coaches of the Barbarians and World XV, respectively. On that occasion, Jones once again came out on top as his Barbarians triumphed over the World XV in a high-scoring and exhilarating rugby showcase, with a final score of 48-42.
While there is no denying the positive impact of having a coach of Hansen’s caliber within the Wallabies’ camp, this move is likely to raise a few eyebrows in New Zealand and could potentially create some unease among rugby enthusiasts…in particular, it appears, Dane Coles.
Dane Coles is GOBSMACKED upon learning that Steve Hansen is joining the Wallabies: pic.twitter.com/EStNvQjUv5
— Jamie Wall (@JamieWall2) August 21, 2023
Speaking about their relationship, Hanson said: “Eddie is a rugby man through and through, he loves the game. He’s quirky … and he has a massive work ethic.”
Jones returned the compliments to his now colleague, stating: “He’s a great coach. He’s a great rugby man. He will go down as one of the greatest All Blacks coaches. He always looks to see what’s best for the game.”