All Blacks coach scoffs at Super jibe

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 09:27

REACTION: New Zealand coach Steve Hansen on Thursday said he was expecting the "kitchen sink" from the British and Irish Lions - but scoffed at suggestions the All Blacks weren't much better than a Super Rugby team.

Hansen played down the Lions' lacklustre start to their tour, after their narrow victory over the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians and 16-22 loss to the Blues.

Hansen blamed poor scheduling and teething problems among the composite side for the Lions' performances, as he named a 33-man squad for the three-Test series starting on June 24.

But he dismissed Lions coach Warren Gatland's claim that the All Blacks would play at a similar level to Super Rugby, saying his opposite number must be "trying a bit of humour".

"I don't think there's any comparison between Super Rugby and Test rugby. I don't know what his thinking is," said the All Blacks coach.

Rather than criticise the visitors after Wednesday's defeat to the Blues - New Zealand's weakest Super Rugby team - Hansen called them "the best Lions side to come here". 

"They're in the infancy of this tour, they'll only get better, and they'll be a good side when the Tests come round," Hansen said. 

"It's well documented they only want to win the Test matches and Gatland has made that very, very clear. The first Test is all he has his eyes on and I don't think he's too bothered about what happens between now and then." 

Hansen said the Lions' tough schedule was to blame, saying the All Blacks wouldn't even have attempted to play so soon after arriving for a tour.

"To be arriving on the Wednesday and playing on the Saturday is just too tough. We wouldn't do it," he said. 

"You can look at the first performance and let it go, and last night [Wednesday] there were still guys out there trying to find out who their mate is.

"We won't be foolish enough to rock up and think we can just expect a soft game. We'll get the kitchen sink thrown at us."

Gatland's Lions will find a similarity with the All Blacks in their next match on Saturday against the Crusaders.

The Super Rugby competition leaders feature an all All Blacks tight five with another All Black prop and lock on the bench.

Agence France-Presse