New Zealand Rugby
Hansen: Deans wanted to be a martyr
December 17, 2012
Robbie Deans took the Australia job after missing out on the All Blacks head coach role © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has stoked his strained relationship with Australia coach Robbie Deans by claiming Deans wanted to be portrayed as "the martyr" after being overlooked for the All Blacks job following the 2007 World Cup.
Deans was widely tipped to replace Graham Henry following the All Blacks' embarrassing early exit from the 2007 World Cup. But to the surprise of many, including Henry himself, the incumbent was given another chance, which of course ended in the All Blacks being crowned World Champions in New Zealand last year.
"If you want my honest opinion, I don't think Robbie wanted it [the All Blacks job] anyway," Hansen told The Weight of a Nation, a documentary on the story behind the 2011 World Cup. "I think Robbie had already signed for Australia.
"I think he just went through the motions and wanted to be the martyr if he didn't get it, so he wins on both sides of the table.
"That's how I felt about it because you don't go to a [New Zealand Rugby Union] selection meeting and when asked, 'Who is going to be your running mates?' - knowing that the opposition [Sir Graham Henry] has got two pretty good candidates [Hansen and Wayne Smith] behind him - with a wishy washy answer. He did.
"And that's why he lost the job, from my understanding. So, did he really want the job?" Current Chiefs assistant coach Smith told the documentary: "In our gut, we probably thought that Robbie would get the job. And I don't think any of us would have begrudged that, because of his record and how well he had done.
"I still remember - Steve and I didn't have to go to the interview and 'Ted' [Henry] did - the phone went that evening and it was Ted saying, 'we're buggered mate'. And I said, 'oh well, Ted, at least we had a crack at it and he said, 'Oh yeh but the interview didn't go well and I think we're buggered'."
Henry said he was equally as surprised at getting a second chance. "I didn't think I'd get the job," he said. "I thought they'd appoint Robbie. I went down to the interview in Wellington, had the interview, didn't do the interview well . . . got too emotional."
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