Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has added a major player to his coaching staff ahead of Rugby World Cup 2023.
World Cup winning All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has joined the Wallabies in one of the most left field moves in recent memory.
Assisting the Australians ahead of their upcoming warm-up fixture with France, Hansen is expected to be with the Wallabies for about a week.
Hansen who has a long standing friendship with Jones who he has coached against since 1997 when Jones was head coach of the Brumbies and Hansen was leading the Crusaders.
Six years later, Jones would coach the Wallabies at the 2003 Rugby World Cup whilst Hansen led Wales.
This week Hansen will offer his experience and an external eye on the Wallabies who are looking to bed in a final style of play before the final tournament.
The 64-year-old whilst not yet wearing Wallabies gear will be at the match on the weekend.
Speaking about his respect for Jones, Hansen said: “Eddie is a rugby man through and through, he loves the game. He’s quirky … and he has a massive work ethic.”
“But underneath it all he cares about the game and the people who are involved in it. He is a good analyst of the game. He has the ability to bring a group together pretty quickly. I just enjoy his company. I like talking rugby with him and he has a good sense of humour as well. He likes a beer and a punt, and so do I.
“He’s a great coach. He’s a great rugby man,” Jones said. “He will go down as one of the greatest All Blacks coaches. He always looks to see what’s best for the game.”
Four years ago, Hansen and Jones went head-to-head in the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final when Jones was still head coach of England.
In what at the time was considered an upset, England defeated New Zealand 19 – 7 bringing an end to the All Blacks extended reign as World Champions.
More recently Jones and Hansen met as head coaches of the Barbarians and World XV respectively. On that day Jones would once again get the upper hand as his Barbarians beat the World XV 48 – 42 in a free flowing attacking rugby festival.
Whilst there is no doubt having a coach of Hansen’s quality in camp will benefit the Wallabies could well ruffle a few feathers in New Zealand.