Former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has criticised both Warren Gatland and Jacques Nienaber for lacking belief in their sides’ abilities.
The British and Irish Lions’ test series against the Springboks has been widely criticised for it’s lack of attacking, flowing rugby, as the focus of the three games was largely on kicking, set-piece and officiating decisions.
World Cup-winning coach Hansen was speaking on New Zealand radio station Newstalk ZB and was highly critical of both the Springboks’ and the Lions’ tactics.
— Springboks (@Springboks) August 10, 2021
Steve Hansen was not impressed with the Lions series.
“You’ve got two big packs and two coaches who don’t have any belief in what’s going to happen if they throw the ball around, so they just beat each other up,” Hansen said, via RugbyPass.
“‘Let’s slow the ball down, let’s get off our feet, do whatever we can to make sure our defensive line is stable so we can keep battering.’ It’s not a game that anybody wants to watch.
“Yes, we want a good physical contest, that’s what the game is about – physicality, speed, using the ball and skill. Could you say we saw that in that series? Of course we didn’t. And it turned a lot of people off.
“Suddenly, the All Blacks became popular again – ‘Let’s hope the All Blacks can rescue rugby.’ It’s not about the All Blacks rescuing rugby, it’s about everyone that’s involved in it taking some ownership and saying, ‘Right, we need to do something here.'”
Showdown between the All Blacks and Springboks draws ever closer.
Hansen’s comments on the Lions series have added even more fuel to the fire ahead of New Zealand’s two games against South Africa this year, the first of which takes place on September 25.
Current All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has also taken a swipe at the Springboks’ style of play recently, claiming that the second test with the Lions put him to sleep.
While New Zealand’s style of play is certainly more attractive to watch for neutrals, it is by no means more effective than South Africa’s forward-oriented game plan.
The two last played at the 2019 Rugby World Cup pool stages, in which New Zealand came out on top, but South Africa of course went on to win that competition and have impressed in their six test matches this year.