Aussies are pinching our players - Hansen

 Oct 22,2012
Written by: Editor

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has criticised the Wallabies for poaching New Zealand talent and not doing enough to develop their own players.

Hansen fired a broadside at Australian rugby after Saturday's 18-18 Bledisloe Cup draw in Brisbane in which New Zealand-born centre Mike Harris kicked five penalties for Australia.

Hansen says he doesn't begrudge Harris' decision to sign for the Reds when he was rejected by New Zealand Super Rugby franchises nor his choice to later play for Australia but slammed Aussie administrators for allowing it to happen.

"I am pleased he [Harris] has achieved his dream ... what I find frustrating is that Australia is trying to build their game and put more franchises in place but all they are doing is putting franchises in place and stealing our players," said Hansen.

"They should get their own house in order and develop their own. There must be players there good enough.

"Australia has been a breeding ground for gun players for centuries."

Hansen did not mince his words when replying to a question claiming Harris' defection is a breakdown in New Zealand rugby's systems and is clearly annoyed by the Western Force recently signing ex-All Blacks scrum-half Alby Mathewson from the Blues and promising outside back Jason Woodward from Wellington.

"It's called Australia pinching our players. That's the system breakdown. How many you got going to the Force? It's time you actually develop your own players and your own coaches. (It'd) be good," said the All Blacks coach.

On Monday, 24-year-old  Harris replied with wry smile and hinted at hypocrisy from the All Blacks, who have selected many Pacific Islanders over the years.

"I was a bit surprised by Steve's comments," Harris told <i>NZ Newswire.</i>

"It's been going on for as long as rugby has been professional, and maybe even further back as well."

Harris qualifies to play for the Wallabies through an Australian-born grandmother, and insists he has no regrets in wearing the gold jersey.

"As an aspiring rugby player you always want to be playing at the next level and if New Zealand had offered me a Super Rugby jersey things might have been different," he said.

Tags: International |  New Zealand | 

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