Wednesday 17 January 2018

Hansen furious as security lapse gives All Blacks an 'uppercut'

Oliver Brown

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has admitted that his team had "given themselves an uppercut" with the security lapse that allowed a journalist to publish highly sensitive team-room revelations before tomorrow's confrontation with England at Twickenham.

Furious at this week's disclosures, including a whiteboard message that declared: "We are the most dominant team in the history of the world," Hansen said: "When there's a breach like this it is disappointing. We have given ourselves an uppercut. It was our problem letting someone in there.

"Ultimately, we shouldn't have done that. But we can't change it."

Hansen also indicated that he would be reviewing New Zealand's security protocols after the incident at their base at Kensington's Royal Garden Hotel, where they had mistakenly left the double door to the Lancaster Suite wide open before a Monday meeting, exposing their motivational mantras.

Others included a written vow to "reach new levels mentally as a group," while another read: "We are playing England – this is about history, about human nature."

After the details published, such as a command to the backs to "use your shoulders, see both sides and concentrate on your breathing," Hansen responded sarcastically when asked to offer further details on the All Blacks' preparations to face England.

Pressed on No 8 Kieran Read's argument that New Zealand were a "completely different" side to the one that lost 38-21 at Twickenham 12 months ago, he said: "I'm not going to give away too much of our game plan. After everything, that's top secret." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

England – M Brown; C Ashton, J Tomkins, B Twelvetrees, B Foden; O Farrell, L Dickson; J Marler, D Hartley, D Cole; J Launchbury, C Lawes; T Wood, C Robshaw (capt), B Vunipola. Reps: T Youngs, M Mullan, D Wilson, G Parling, B Morgan, B Youngs, T Flood, A Goode.

New Zealand – I Dagg; C Piutau, B Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, OFranks; B Retallick, S Whitelock; L Messam, R McCaw (captain), K Read. Reps: D Coles, W Crockett, C Faumuina, L Romano, S Luatua, T Kerr-Barlow, A Cruden, R Crotty.


Ulster Ravens welcome Connacht Eagles to Deramore Park tonight for an inter-provincial clash ahead of the resumption of the British & Irish Cup next month, and both managers have named strong XVs.

For the home side, two recently capped Irish internationals, Paul Marshall and Stuart Olding, form a formidable half-back partnership.

Ulster are also boosted by the inclusion of Nick Williams at No 8, with Robbie Diack in the second-row.

Verdict: Ulster Ravens

Ulster Ravens – R Andrew; D McIlwaine, M Allen, C Farrell, P Nelson; S Olding, P Marshall; K McCall, N Annett, R Lutton; L Stevenson (capt), R Diack; M McComish, S Doyle, N Williams.

Connacht Eagles – D Leader, F Carr, E Griffin, D McSharry, T O'Halloran; J Carty (capt), F Murphy; R Loughney, D Heffernan, N White; D Nolan, M Kearney; A Muldowney, E Masterson, M Fifita.

Irish Independent

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