Hansen praises ‘magnificent’ Wallabies

Date published: October 31 2015

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen hailed the Wallabies as "magnificent" after his side lifted the World Cup at Twickenham.

The All Blacks were eventual 34-17 winners in an absorbing contest, but they had to handle a concerning fightback from Australia in the second-half.

"It’s extremely difficult on a night like this when you get a winner and loser, and it’s a tough night for the loser. What I’d like to say on behalf of myself and the team was that I thought Australia were magnificent," Hansen said.

"The way they approached the game, they never lay down, and at 21-17 they could have easily won the game.

"From our point of view we’d like to acknowledge them for being the opponents they were, and while as a group we’re happy with what we’ve achieved, as a group we’d like to say well done to Australia as well."

Focusing on his own troops Hansen paid tributes to his captain Richie McCaw and man of the match Dan Carter in their final games for the side.

"I think Richie is probably the greatest All Black we’ve ever had and Dan is a close second. All that separates them is that one is a flanker and you don’t play 148 Tests as a flanker – that’s unheard of. You put your body on the line every time you play there," he added.

"There was a lot of talk about the loose forward trio and without being disrespectful to the other guys who I thought played well, I think our trio won that battle and Richie was the leader.

"We’re very fortunate to have players like that. The opportunity will come for someone else now to be better than him.

As well as savouring the fact that New Zealand made history by winning back-to-back World Cups and became the first side to win three titles, Hansen expressed his gratitude to the fans around the UK and back home in New Zealand.

"We knew before we got here what was going, sat down as a team and said "let’s enjoy this". Let’s make sure win or lose or not, we want to leave this country with people understanding that we’ve got some good values and we’re not bad people and to enjoy the experience," he explained.

"Too many athletes have occasions that slip by when they don’t get to enjoy it. We relished the fact that we moved around the country a lot and we thought if we did ourselves proud and acted like the people that we are then we’d make some extra friends, maybe! I think that might have been the case. 

"A lot of people have realised we’re not the big bad ogres we’re made out to be in the media. We’re just ordinary people who can play rugby reasonably well. 

"Life’s too short not to have fun either. If you’re serious all the time it’s pretty boring. 

"It’s been great, the people who’ve looked after us throughout the UK have been superb from the staff to the fans. Our own fans have travelled to see us and the fans back home have been really supportive and made us feel that we are loved."