Hansen won't throw more fuel on Henry's fire
Steve Hansen has given serial All Blacks baiter Stephen Jones no extra ammunition to heat up his Twitter account.
Having described Graham Henry's suggestions of match-fixing in the 2007 Rugby World Cup as a “puke-making assault on Wayne Barnes", British sports journalist Jones may have hoped to keep his Twitter comments burning with more scathing attacks on New Zealand rugby coaches this week.
But All Blacks coach Hansen was not playing that game yesterday.
Unlike former coach Henry, who wrote in his autobiography he suspected sports betting played a role in referee Barnes' lop-sided performance in his side's shock quarter-final defeat to France in 2007, Hansen was not subscribing to such conspiracy theories.
“All I will say is this: everyone knows the referee missed a forward pass but I don't think it cost us the game," he said.
Jones, who for decades has revelled in winding-up sensitive Kiwi rugby supporters, has had a field day on Twitter by dispatching his critics to various corners of cyber-space with his ripostes.
Jones said Henry was "bitter" and the “better side won easily", and he questioned whether the International Rugby Board had the guts to act against Henry.
Several other British sports journalists also questioned Henry's judgment - especially when taking into account Barnes is a barrister by occupation.
Hansen, who was Henry's assistant between 2004 and 2011 before taking over after last year's world up, said the All Blacks only had themselves to blame and he was grateful the New Zealand Rugby Union reappointed him, Henry and Wayne Smith following the 2007 disaster.
“I think we did things ourselves that contributed to that loss. We were lucky enough to be given a second chance as a coaching trio.
“We worked hard on those things once we identified what they were and we went and won the one in 2011. For me, it was five years ago and I have sort of moved on since then. My focus is where we are going to go now."
Asked if he was surprised by Henry's allegations, Hansen said “you would have to ask him".
Henry is in Argentina, assisting with the coaching of their national team.
“It is irrelevant as far as I am concerned," Hansen said. "I have moved on, it is 2012. So giddy-up, let's get going."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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