Gatland v Hansen: The best of the verbals

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:02
Large nz lions series banner 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: All Black coach Steve Hansen insisted Thursday his so-called war of words with British and Irish Lions counterpart Warren Gatland had been ramped up by the media.

Hansen added he respected Gatland and wanted to have "a beer and a chuckle" with him once the Test series was over.

But the verbal jousting has proven almost as entertaining as the rugby during the tour. AFP recalls some of the highlights:

Hansen gets in a pre-tour dig over claims Gatland has a one-dimensional "Warrenball" game plan: 

"We assume Warren's not going to have an epiphany and change the way he plays."

Gatland tries to draw positives from an early tour loss to the Blues: 

"I don't think there will be much of a difference between Super Rugby sides and the All Blacks. It's going to give us great preparation playing at this level and learning from these hard, competitive games."

Hansen scoffs at Gatland's comments:

"I just think he was trying a bit of humour after struggling a wee bit with his press conference before. I don't think there's any comparison between Super Rugby and Test rugby. I don't know what his thinking is."

Gatland accuses New Zealand of illegal blocking tactics before the first Test:

"It's part of the game in New Zealand, all New Zealand teams are doing it at the moment... we've just got to hope the referees, assistant referees and the TMOs pick up what's going on."

Hansen hits back: 

"There's no point in trying to bully the referees publicly in the media."

Gatland's said of Hansen's demeanour before the first Test:

"He's a little bit more worried than he normally is, saying these comments about us, things he knows about or doesn't know about, that is normally a sign of a man that is a little bit worried.

"It's unlike Steve and maybe he is worried by potentially how good this team can be." 

In the wake of the Lions' 15-30 loss in the first Test, Gatland accuses the All Blacks of foul play when targeting his scrumhalf Conor Murray:

"There was a charge down where someone dived at his legs. I thought 'that's a little bit dangerous', and after he's kicked he's been pushed a few times, pushed to the ground.

"They're actually diving blindly and hitting someone's leg. It's a safety issue for me. I'd hate to see someone dive at his leg and have him blow a knee and then wreck his rugby career."

An irate Hansen calls talkback radio and comes out all guns blazing: 

"It's predictable comments from Gatland, isn't it? Two weeks ago we cheated in the scrums and last week it was blocking and now he's saying this.

"It's really, really disappointing to hear it because what he's implying is we're intentionally going out to injure somebody."

Gatland says he's not affected by Hansen's jibes or a newspaper cartoon depicting him as a clown:

"I'm not bothered what [Hansen] says or what a newspaper draws. I hope it was a happy clown, that's all. I'd like to think as a Kiwi that some things about me would be more positive from some media, but that hasn't happened. 

"One or two people have had a personal campaign against me, but that's water off a duck’s back. I couldn’t give a toss."

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 30 September 2017
Griquas v Free State Cheetahs 12h00 Kimberley
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Welford Road
Munster v Cardiff Blues 13h30 Thomond Park
Cheetahs v Ospreys 14h00 Bloemfontein
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Bath 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 14h35 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Bloemfontein
Dragons v Kings 18h35 Rodney Parade
Sun, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand 22h30 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Blue Bulls v Western Province 12h30 Loftus Versfeld
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0