Leadership and training were the key areas Wallabies coach Eddie Jones wanted long-time rival Steve Hansen to look at but declared his World Cup involvement was more like “a mate having a beer”.
Legendary All Blacks coach Hansen sent New Zealand into a spin when it was revealed he’d been lured by Jones to join the Australian camp in France ahead of pre-tournament clash with the World Cup hosts.
Kiwi Prime Minister Chris Hipkins joked they should cancel Hansen’s citizenship and veteran All Blacks hooker Dane Coles said he was gobsmacked and admitted it “hurt a bit” to see his former coach involved with their arch rivals.
Hansen tried to calm his countrymen, declaring he was only advising for three or four days, and Jones revealed he had called on his good friend to get a fresh perspective on the Wallabies in a casual and less formal way.
“I‘ve coached against Steve since 1998 so we’ve got a long relationship, enjoy each other’s company and I always had the thought we wanted this week to be a reset week for us,” Jones said from France on Tuesday night.
“We‘ve been through the Rugby Championship, done our Australian responsibilities and now it’s a rest, so we’ve brought in Steve to have a look at what we’re doing.
“It‘s purely like a mate having a beer (asking), ’What do you think? Where can we improve’?”
Jones said he’d asked Hansen to cast his eye over specific areas.
“There‘s two main areas: there’s training quality, which is our way of improving, and leadership of the team,” he said.
“So Steve is having a look at both of those areas.
“Every time he speaks there is some wisdom is what he says – when he says something, we are listening to him and how we can improve what we are doing. We are looking to see if we can use his advice to do that.”
Jones said his players welcomed someone of Hansen’s calibre – he boasts the most wins of any All Blacks coach – and were keen to soak up his advice
“They like good people coming into camp, they want to get better and they can see the value of Steve,” Jones said.
“If you just look at his Test record, I think he‘s coached 200 Tests; for the All Blacks he won I think 87 per cent.
“So they like good people coming into camp and he‘s a good person, so the reaction has been really positive.”
Jones was unsure what France would dish up in their World Cup warm-up this weekend, with his young group keep to get more international exposure.
“Everything‘s about the World Cup – our target is the World Cup – so this is an opportunity for us to take another step forward,” Jones said.
“We’re playing France but we might not be playing France.
“Whilst we‘re certainly not disregarding France, we’re not treating it as purely a training run, our aim is to get right for the World Cup.”
Originally published as Wallabies coach Eddie Jones reveals why former All Blacks coach joined World Cup camp