The Bugged Meeting Room

On Saturday morning it was reported that the All Blacks had discovered they’d been bugged. But the real story started well before then.

As it stands right now – the matter has been referred on to NSW Police.

It’s clear that this had been done well before the media ran the story, but the media likely knew of the situation well before Saturday when the story broke.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said that information wasn’t passed onto police until Steve Tew, NZ Rugby CEO, had arrived in Sydney.

Since then there has been a whole lot of speculation as to who planted the device, and what the motive behind it was. We may never know the answer to this. The most likely scenario was that the device was planted on behalf of a sports betting agency. Continue reading The Bugged Meeting Room

Steve Hansen faces difficult selection for No.10 starter against Wallabies

When the All Blacks squad for the opening Bledisloe Cup test against Australia is announced on Thursday morning, all eyes will be on who starts at first five eighth.

Will it be the red hot Beauden Barrett, or the traditional work horse Aaron Cruden who gets the nod to start against the Wallabies?

No one can question that Barrett is in career-best form heading into Saturday’s match. Fresh off a Super Rugby title win two weeks ago, more than a handful of people say that this is the time for Barrett to be given the start in a blockbuster match. Continue reading Steve Hansen faces difficult selection for No.10 starter against Wallabies

Hansen cannot be swayed by morals and anger on Piutau selection

Charles Piutau leaving New Zealand shores for a lucrative $1million contract with Ulster has, as expected, divided the opinion of many this week.

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The NZ Herald has reported that Piutau had already signed a new two-year contract with the NZRU.

But Piutau had asked his management team to hold off sending it back due to another lucrative contract being offered by Irish club Ulster.

By changing his mind and going off shore, Piutau has ended all chances of playing test rugby for the All Blacks post Rugby World Cup.

Has Piutau, an almost certain regular All Black selection in the future, made the right decision by signing with Ulster?

The man has to do what is best for him, but not only that his rugby playing and financial future.

Money should never be the biggest factor in turning away from the All Black jersey, but it is a factor nonetheless.

If Piutau suffers a career-ending injury one year into his tenure with Ulster, he will at least have the finances behind him to secure his family’s future.

This must be taken into account, not only by the media in their pending criticism of Piutau, but also the All Black selectors on the question of if they now decide to take Piutau to the RWC or not.

Steve Hansen has always said he will select the best side regardless of any other factors, be they financial or otherwise, so let’s hope he sticks with that vision and doesn’t cave to moral pressure and not select Charles Piutau in the June internationals.

Opinion: Hansen needs to stop trash talking and get on with coaching

Steve Hansen has fired up the Australian media after making some insinuating comments about a Wallabies selection.

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If there is one thing that leaps forward when you think about Steve Hansen, it’s that he isn’t afraid to do some trash talking in the media days before a test match against the Wallabies. 

Today it was reported that Hansen made a comment which hinted that the Wallabies selection of Kurtley Beale was politicly motivated. Wether the media took Hansen’s comments in a different direction than the All Black coach intended is not the point here. The point is, questioning a selection in the Australian side using political reasoning, or making a comment which has that sort of effect to journalists based on unsupported rumor, is completely unreasonable and a little below the belt from the All Black coach.

As memory serves, Beale performed well in the recent Waratahs victory over the Crusaders.

Suggesting that Ewen McKenzie selected Beale in the Wallabies squad due to pressure from the ARU because of reports that the NRL are looking to bring the talented play maker over to Rugby League is not only unsupported, but a really laughable cheap shot at the Wallabies by the All Black coach.

It is time Steve Hansen focused less on scoring cheap verbal points against the Wallabies in the week of these Bledisloe Cup test matches.