Pat Lam Has Fired Back At All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen
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Pat Lam has fired back at Steve Hansen after the All Blacks coach made a personal attack on him following the signing of Steven Luatua for Bristol.
The Connacht boss will be taking over at Bristol at the end of the season, and has already began his recruitment process with the English side, securing the services of Blues and All Blacks star Steven Luatua ahead of next season.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen came out yesterday and made it known he was disappointed there wasn’t more communication between the player and New Zealand Rugby, and singled out Pat Lam, launching a personal attack on the Connacht boss.
“He spoke briefly to the contracts team, and he’s been tapped on the shoulder by Pat Lam which is disappointing too. If you’re an ex-New Zealander you should be a bit mindful about players’ careers.
“But when they decide to go you’ve got to support them. Steven has made that decision so we’ll do that.”
Pat Lam has now fired back today, and he’s not happy. He has particularly taken exception to being labelled an ‘ex-New Zealander’.
“I am very saddened and disappointed that All Black head coach Steve Hansen has made a personal attack on myself and my family by calling me an ‘ex-New Zealander’,” Lam said in a statement.
“Since professionalism began in 1996 many New Zealand rugby players have signed for overseas clubs coached by New Zealanders. Currently there are over 50 All Blacks playing for foreign teams and only four weeks ago 47-test capped current All Black Aaron Cruden was recruited by New Zealander Vern Cotter for Montpellier in France
“I was born in New Zealand to hard-working Samoan parents. I was educated in New Zealand and worked as a schoolteacher and a professional rugby coach in New Zealand. I had the privilege and honour to represent both my country of birth and my country of heritage. I am a proud New Zealander and I’m also proud to be a Pacific Islander.
“The only reason we don’t live in New Zealand at the moment is I had an opportunity to continue to coach rugby professionally in Ireland and support my family after being sacked by the NZRU and the Blues.”
“Did Steve Hansen consider himself an ex-New Zealander when he chose to leave New Zealand and coach the Wales national team against the All Blacks?
“Myself and I’m sure many other New Zealanders who are living and working overseas do not consider ourselves ‘ex-New Zealanders’ just because we are not living in New Zealand. When I have joined the thousands of other northern-based Kiwis who attended and cheered on the All Blacks in their test matches in the northern hemisphere we certainly didn’t do so as ‘ex-New Zealanders’.
“I believe many New Zealanders would also be offended to be labelled an ‘ex-New Zealander’ by the All Black coach … he has great influence because of his position of privilege and responsibility in representing New Zealand worldwide.
“Who determines and judges who is a New Zealander and who isn’t? I don’t believe that has ever been the role of the All Black head coach.”
Hansen has since responded and claims he meant ‘ex-New Zealand’ in terms of his coaching career and not in terms of his nationality. We’ll let you decide if you believe him or not.