Steve Hansen has thrown his support behind the idea of another clash between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions next year prior to the Lions tour of South Africa.
The idea was suggested by head coach Warren Gatland earlier this month as a way of generating much-needed revenue for the game with many governing bodies struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The game would be billed as a ‘decider’ with the 2017 tour of New Zealand having ended in a draw with respective captains Kieran Read and Sam Warburton both lifting the trophy after the third game.
While Hansen dismissed the notion of a ‘decider’ in an in-depth interview with WalesOnline, he supported the idea of another All Blacks – Lions clash from a financial point-of-view.
“Well, it won’t be a decider because it won’t be the same people involved.
“But what he’s really saying is let’s have this game to try and help make some money for the game because the game is in trouble.
“You have got one rugby nation, in the United States, who have gone bankrupt, we’ve got Australia on the brink, we know England have got a financial crisis, everybody will have because you are not getting paid the TV rights and those are what makes the game go round.
“The game is in financial crisis. People are struggling.
“So I think anything that allows us to create some income to support the game is important.”
The former All Blacks head coach, who now works with Toyota Verblitz in Japan’s Top League, also revealed that he remains frustrated with the drawn Lions series three years ago, not just with how the final game played out, but with his own coaching performance.
“I don’t think I coached as well as I could have that year. I was pretty disappointed in myself and some of the coaching decisions I made. So that makes it hard to distract from it.
“I also know it could have gone drastically a different way. There was that red card in the second Test and we led well deep into that game. Then to lose it on a penalty where a guy tackles a guy jumping to catch the ball from a poor pass, when everyone knows that wasn’t intentional of that rule, that’s frustrating.
“Then the last game was frustrating with the decision at the end (with Ken Owens) that was so obvious to everybody, but no-one wanted to admit to it. So those things they hang around and play on your mind.
“But the biggest thing that stops me from moving on is really how I coached, because I think I could have done it better.”