All Blacks coach believes brand can be useful

Getty Images

Lynn McConnell     14 Sep 2018     Getty Images

He made his comments in the wake of former All Black Lima Sopoaga's comments in England this week about the declining draw of the black jersey.

Hansen said rugby was an important part of New Zealand and who and what the country was.

"Not all the money we make goes to the players. It goes to funding grassroots and development and women's rugby. I don't know if you've seen the budget but we're spending more than we've got and that's not a great way to run your budget," he said.

While people might pooh-pooh his comments he said he believed over many years the All Blacks had been a great brand for New Zealand.

"You can go anywhere in the world and people may not know New Zealand but they've heard of the All Blacks. I think it is an opportunity for us to take New Zealand to the rest of the world by using that brand, be it in tourism or be it in whatever we want, business, and that's why I mentioned they should be one of our sponsors.

"If the money goes to grassroots and developing women's rugby and developing young talent to come through and be All Blacks then maybe some of the money we get from adidas and AIG and our other sponsors can be used to keep players here," he said.

There was an understanding that players would go overseas, especially some of the Pasifika boys who were supporting more than themselves. Hansen said he didn't like losing players who could benefit the team because it was his job to make the team as strong as possible and he tried to talk them out of it if he could.

But if they went they went with the team's blessing and they would support them.

Hansen said Sopoaga was clearly enjoying himself with Wasps and would be a good driver for their side but he didn't think there would be any more players going than there had been.

"There's a lot of guys over there who think it's a grind and they report that back to the guys that are here.

"What we've got to do, and we don't have a commercial base like a lot of other places, but we've got to try and create an environment where the players are well looked after from a player-load strategy, and we're working on that with New Zealand Rugby and the franchises. We've got to try and prolong their careers so maybe they don't have to go overseas to get that big lump of money and they could play another four or five years here and get the same money.

"We've got to think of ways and means of how we can keep this big machine going because it's not just going to do it by itself," he said.

Women's rugby had been added to the mix and New Zealanders wanted them to be good and to grow.

"As far as I'm aware money still doesn't grow on trees as much as I'm still trying to find that tree I can't."