Coach Steve Hansen's loss focuses All Blacks

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 17/10/2012
Dan Carter
Robyn Edie/Fairfax NZ
DAN CARTER: "Our thoughts are with him (Steve Hansen) and his family and he can spend as much time as he needs to spend with those guys."

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Dan Carter insists the death of head coach Steve Hansen's father, Des, will not blow the All Blacks off course.

Des Hansen, 78, succumbed to illness yesterday morning and an All Blacks spokesman said no decision had been made about whether Steve would travel to Brisbane for Saturday night's test against the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium.

Despite the All Blacks being based in Christchurch before flying out to Australia tomorrow afternoon, Hansen's involvement with the squad has been limited this week.

First five-eighth Carter maintained the All Blacks' preparations had not been disrupted by the absence of their boss.

"I don't think so; we are a tight enough group to get on with the job and will give our support to Steve," he said.

"We have got a great bunch of guys and management to just get on with the job."

Carter, who had met Des Hansen several times, said supporting their boss was important.

"Obviously, there are some pretty tough times ahead. Our thoughts are with him and his family and he can spend as much time as he needs to spend with those guys. He [Des] was pretty well known in rugby circles here in Christchurch and could grow some pretty good tomatoes as well. I was lucky enough to get a bag of those not so long ago.

"He will be sadly missed."

Des Hansen, who coached the Marist seniors in the 1980s, was respected among the Christchurch club fraternity for his ability to analyse games.

When he was appointed as All Blacks defence coach, Aussie McLean noted that he was a strong influence on his and Steve's philosophies on how the game should be played.

"He's probably the common thread between us," McLean said at the time.

Like Carter, All Blacks manager Darren Shand maintained the squad were determined to remain fixed on beating the Wallabies.

"The All Blacks have continued their preparations for the test match against Australia as Des Hansen would want them to do," Shand said.

Carter, meanwhile, took a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil stance when asked about the effect the turmoil within Australian rugby would have on theWallabies.

In conjunction with the resignation of Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill, Quade Cooper sniping at his bosses and a massive injury toll, Wallaby coach Robbie Deans has been forced to continually fend off waves of criticism.

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Carter wasn't commenting, though.

"To be honest, with what is going on - I haven't really thought about it too much," he said.

- The Press

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