All Blacks Boss Steve Hansen Has A Pop At “Hunted” Ireland

Hunted.

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has had a pop at Ireland and started his mind games early ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan in a press conference with the New Zealand media this morning.

Hansen believes Ireland are feeling the pressure and not coping well with being “the hunted” as opposed to being the “hunters” after they defeated the world champions back in November. Hansen hailed Joe Schmidt’s side as the world’s best after that victory, but said with that comes added expectation.

But Ireland have failed to live up to those expectations so far this year. New Zealand meanwhile are “used to” being the best according to Hansen, which he says is a completely “different experience.”

“I said it at the time when we played Ireland that whoever won that game was going to be viewed as the number one team in the world and everyone is going to chase them,” Hansen told the NZ media.

“For us that’s something we’ve been used to. We’ve been ranked the number one team for 112 months now, I think, but people have seen Ireland as the top dog after they beat us, and that put a massive amount of expectation on the players and coaches.”

“Instead of being the hunters they are the hunted and it’s different. It’s different when you’re sitting at the top of the tree. It’s a different experience. Not many teams cope with it that well.”