Hansen decision on future by Christmas

Steve Hansen and Joe Schmidt 1566171566

Hansen's contract runs through until the completion of the world tournament in Japan.

Hansen told media on Sunday, after the All Blacks' 9-16 loss to Ireland, that he had decided before the team left New Zealand for the northern tour that he would make a decision about his future and said he would do that when returning home after the Italy Test on Sunday and before Christmas.


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Before then there was Italy to prepare for and that would be done without key players who were returning home. Flanker Liam Squire, who was injured against Ireland, and second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams, who was injured against England, would be accompanied by lock am Whitelock, who has had a heavy workload this year, in order to work on minor injuries he had been carrying.

Flanker Matt Todd, who was called up for the tour as back-up for Ardie Savea, will return to Japan. Dalton Papalii is likely to serve as cover for Savea in Rome.

Whitelock is to have three months off and will not play the first four rounds of the Crusaders' Investec Super Rugby campaign.

"I know someone like Sam Whitelock, he is going to have a really good break and we will see a different player because of that," Hansen said.

Reviewing the Ireland Test, Hansen said one of the results of a loss was that players were left uncomfortable and going into a Rugby World Cup year that was better than being too comfortable.

"You tend to find people work a little harder and definitely look in the mirror a lot better. All of us will be doing a bit of that over the summer," he said.

"It's moments like this that you have a bit of adversity, you have got to set your sail to the wind and stand up and be strong with your convictions and about where you are going.

"The critical facts, and the current reality of what is happening, have to be reviewed. Some things you can fix straight away, some things you just have to keep working on," he said.

Hansen has said all season that the All Blacks were working on changing their game.

"We have known for a wee while that there is a little bit in our game that is not quite ticking. But we are confident that we will fix that. It just needs a bit of time," he said.

Meanwhile, Italy will be without key players in Rome against the All Blacks. Their try scorer in their 7-26 loss to the Wallabies at the weekend wing Mattia Bellini has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury while long-serving captain and No.8 Sergio Parisse has a calf injury and will also be unavailable.

Steve Hansen and Joe Schmidt 1566171566

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