Dusautoir ‘one of the all-time greats’

Date published: October 15 2015

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has paid tribute to France captain Thierry Dusautoir ahead of the two sides' World Cup quarter-final.

Hansen didn't hold back in his praise for Dusautoir, describing him as one of the greats of the game.

"He is one of the great players of all time," Hansen said.

"If there wasn't a certain Richie McCaw running around during that same period, Dusautoir would probably be seen as the guy who has played the best rugby in that position over a long period of time.

"He is calculated, cool under pressure and has a smart rugby brain on him. He is also a good man and a good character who plays the game in the right spirit. He is a great ambassador for French rugby."

Hansen also analysed the wider relationship between the two countries while describing the French domestic league, the Top 14, as "dour".

"There has been a great relationship between the two countries for a long, long time and apart from the Rainbow Warrior, we've probably been on the same page most of the time," Hansen added.

"From a rugby point of view we have similar athletes. France have always had great athletes. Their game was built around flair in the backs and real physicality up front. I'm not sure it's the same flair they have now.

"The Top 14 has become quite a dour competition with a lot of physicality and I know they are trying to recapture that flair.

"You can see it is there and when they let loose, it's definitely there. We will be expecting them to come out and play with flair and physicality.

"But the relationship has been great. There has always been some days when you just wonder who is going to turn up. But most of the time they turn up and when it's a big occasion, they always turn up.

"We have to turn up with them. But we are really looking forward to it. Our guys love a challenge and there is not many bigger challenges than playing France."