Rugby Union


New Zealand boss Steve Hansen reacts to England role rumours

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It wasn't the best of Six Nations campaigns for England.

The Red Roses concluded the tournament in fifth position, with only Italy behind them in the final standings.

After winning two and losing three of their five fixtures - including defeats to Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield, and Saturday's reverse to Ireland at Twickenham, a result that secured a Grand Slam for the Irish - things are far from plain sailing.

With the long-term future of head coach Eddie Jones yet unknown, despite him being tied down to his position until 2021, after agreeing a new deal in January, one potential suitor to the role has dismissed such speculation.

The New Zealand head coach, Steve Hansen was considered a contender in some quarters to replace Jones should he leave after his contract, but the All Blacks chief, whose current deal expires after the World Cup in Japan next year, is unwilling to take on another international job.

In the wake of England's miserable campaign, Hansen emerged as a candidate to potentially replace Australian Jones, who failed to replicate the success of the 2017 Six Nations winning team, if he does indeed leave.

But when quizzed on the subject, Hansen was having none of it, refuting claims that he was eyeing up the position of England head coach in the future.

"I can say I won't be coaching England,' Hansen told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.

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"If I was going to stay coaching international rugby then I'd stay coaching the All Blacks. It's a massive time commitment, no matter what team you're with.

"It would have to be right for the family and the team. If it's not right for both those parties, it wouldn't be right for me to go off and coach someone else. I'd rather stay and do it in New Zealand if it was right."

Of course, while Jones is still in the position all of this speculation remains purely hypothetical anyway.

On England's current troubles, the Kiwi doesn't think fans and pundits should go too overboard in their criticism of Jones' team.

"You don't want to be panicking too much up there. England are a good rugby side," Hansen added.

England v Ireland - NatWest Six Nations

"They have some very good players and one of the best coaches in the world. They should have a bit faith and I'm sure they'll come back.

"Yes they've lost three in a row and that's the reality, but it doesn't make them a poor side and nor does it mean they're in crisis."

However, Hansen, who has lost just six matches since 2012 as the All Blacks coach, did tease the possibility of coaching in England, perhaps at club level, one day.

He continued: "I don't know what I'll do when the day comes for me to finish, but coaching is in my blood.

"I'll probably be coaching until the day I die. Whether that's in England, we'll have to wait and see."

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