Steve Hansen had the world’s rugby media hanging off his every word today in Tokyo, as the tension builds towards Saturday’s World Cup semifinal with England.
The All Black coach sprung a bit of a surprise in naming Scott Barrett at blindside for the game, however all the early questions were focused on the comments made by England coach Eddie Jones earlier in the week. He laughed off suggestions about spying that Jones made, preferring to heap praise on his opposite.
“He’s a hell of a good bloke” Hansen told a packed conference room today at the Conrad Tokyo Hotel.
“All’s fair in love and war, and there’s nothing better in war than to throw a little distraction out there. You guys [the media] can’t resist, best clickbait in the world.
Hansen also suggested we haven’t heard the last of Jones in regards to some headline-making comments.
“Well there’ll be a bit tonight, won’t there?” he said, referring to the English team naming tonight at 5pm Tokyo time.
“I look forward to reading it, it’s been good!”
Hansen also addressed the selection of Barrett at blindside over an in form Sam Cane, which sees Ardie Savea shift to openside.
“Obviously it’s strategic. It’s not on form, Sam Cane’s playing well. However, we’ve made some decisions around what we want to do and how we want to play, and we’ve made that change because of that.”
Both sides are heading into Saturday night’s match at Yokohama International Stadium off the back of big wins in their quarter finals, with the All Blacks beating Ireland 46-14. The English smashed the Wallabies 40-16.