Face of the Day

Goalkicking. Poor skill execution. Lack of ambition. An outstanding opponent. Steve Hansen has a long list of reasons his All Blacks failed to defeat the British and Irish Lions that sit well above a dodgy call or two going against them.

It’s an admirable take-it-on-the-chin attitude. Strong leaders look within when campaigns don’t go to plan; weak ones grasp for ways to deflect attention from the real issues. The All Blacks simply were not good enough over three tests at home to put away a quality Lions side which took the back-to-back world champions out of their comfort zone like few others in recent times.

“We’re used to winning everything. But that’s one of the reasons this has been a great series. People get a wee sense of reality. There are other teams out there who can play rugby, especially when you combine four of them into one.

“It’s pretty disrespectful to think just because we’ve drawn a series we’ve gone backwards. We had no Ben Smith, no Dane Coles, and they’re two of the best players in the world. No Ryan Crotty (for most of the series) … We played well enough to win; we just didn’t.

“People have just got to stay calm and trust we know what we’re doing. We had a bump in the road against a well-coached team full of quality athletes, but you want a few road bumps, because somewhere they’re going to hit you and you need to know how to deal with them.”


– Stuff

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