Rugby Confidential: All Blacks warn NRL Bulldogs, Steve Hansen off poaching

He might be coaching royalty in New Zealand but Steve Hansen’s been given a prod from his successor to leave the All Blacks alone.

Hansen’s shock decision to accept a new job as a high performance consultant with the Bulldogs has left everyone on both sides of the Tasman shaking their heads in disbelief that he would join the 13-player code.

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After winning two World Cups with the All Blacks, one as an assistant and another as head coach, Hansen’s stocks in New Zealand are so high that he can do anything he wants – but with one big exception, as the current All Blacks coach Ian Foster was quick to remind him.

“I’m excited for him. I’m sure he’ll do that stuff really, really well, working with other coaches,” Foster said.

New Bulldogs staffer Steve Hansen (L) has been issued a hands off by his All Blacks replacement Ian Foster (R). Picture: Phil Walter/GettySource:Getty Images

“I had a call with him today and told him I’d banned all our backs answering any calls they get from him.

“It’ll be great for him and I know personally his ability to assist young coaches and help them grow is going to be fantastic so I’m sure that the Bulldogs will benefit greatly from him.”


New Wallabies scrum coach Petrus du Plessis could make a shock appearance at ANZ Stadium for the third Bledisloe Cup match – which would be the first time he’s met most of the players face-to-face.

We hear that du Plessis is in the final days of hotel quarantine, and there’s a chance his he could be out in time to attend the must-win match against the All Blacks.


Having worked with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie at Glasgow, du Plessis was given the job of Australia’s scrum coach in September, but due to COVID-19 has been forced to do his work via Zoom conference calls.

He has been in regular contact with Wallabies forwards via the video conferencing app but may finally be able to shake their hands on Saturday.

The South African-born 39-year-old is relocating to Australia with his wife and children.

He will join Rennie, attack coach Scott Wisemantel, defence coach Matt Taylor, and lineout coach Geoff Parling in the Wallabies’ coaching set-up.


The Waratahs are in serious danger of finishing last in next year’s Super Rugby AU tournament given the quality stars they’re losing.

Michael Hooper, Ned Hanigan will miss the season after signing stints in Japan, Rob Simmons and Tom Staniforth are off the Europe, and Tom Robertson will switch to Western Force.

The Waratahs are staring down the barrel of a last-placed finish next season. Picture: David Gray/AFPSource:AFP

While the Force couldn’t win a game in this year’s competition, they’re building a roster for 2021, with Argentinian halfback Tomas Cubelli and hooker Julian Montoya joining Ireland’s Rob Kearney, Tevita Kuridrani, Jake McIntyre, Kyle Godwin and former All Black Richard Kahui in Perth.

Melbourne Rebels have a strong pack, while Queensland will look to overtake the Brumbies in the pecking order.

Tahs fans may be in for a rough slog in 2021.


Eastwood coach Ben Batger is relishing the Shute Shield‘s rare visit to Leichhardt Oval for Saturday’s grand final against Gordon.

Batger was a diehard Balmain Tigers fan in the 1980s and ‘90s when Steve Edmed's was first carting the ball up in the pack.

Edmed's son Tane is now the 20-year-old Eastwood five-eighth who can steer the club’s first premiership side since 2015.

“I‘m actually rapt to be playing at Leichhardt Oval for the first time…it takes me back to when I first became a Tigers fan and Garry Jack was my favourite player,” Batger told our former colleague and rugby writing great Jim Tucker this week.

Batger has a high rating for NSW Waratahs squad member Edmed.

“He‘s really benefited from everything a full season of club footy throws at you and I just see a 20-year-old playing like a 10-year veteran every game he plays,” Batger said.

Originally published asAll Blacks back banned from answer Bulldog’s calls

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