Hansen bemoans Luatua’s departure

Date published: February 14 2017

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is disappointed that he did not get a chance to speak to Steven Luatua before the Blues back-row decided to join Premiership club Bristol.

The 25-year-old, who has represented New Zea"land in 15 Tests since 2013, signed a two-year deal with Bristol, who will be coached by former Blues head coach Pat Lam next season.

Luatua, who battled for a regular place in Hansen's squad recently, is available for the upcoming British and Irish Lions series but may find it difficult to make the All Blacks squad now that he has decided to move abroad.

Hansen admitted that it is frustrating that he was not afforded the opportunity to discuss the future with Luatua, who follows in the footsteps of Aaron Cruden, Charles Piutau, Frank Halai and Francis Saili who all decided to ply their trade overseas at the expense of All Blacks selection.

"It's always disappointing when you lose a good player, regardless of who he is," Hansen told Stuff

"In this case it's double disappointing because of the lack of communication. It wasn't as if we were able to engage in the process.

"Some agents once they get an offer they'll come to the table and negotiate; others don't. Steven's crew didn't want to talk because they are fearful we are going to change these guys minds which is disappointing.

"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."

All Blacks captain Kieran Read echoed Hansen's sentiments and admitted that he was surprised by Luatua's decision.

"I was disappointed," he said.

"I saw him as a guy who made some great strides last year, and someone who really could have an impact on New Zealand rugby and the All Blacks.

"It's a bit sad to lose a guy like this, but it's an individual thing. It is tempting and you can't begrudge anyone if they want to go down that route."


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