Hansen's recent record
I think that the problem of Hansen’s coaching since 2015 - coinciding with Read’s captaincy - is that at the two biggest points in this cycle, that is the Lions and WC (so not even counting the embarrassing first loss to the Irish which Read captained) we just didn’t produce. So, overall, the winning percentage is great and we look amazing.
However equally, my NH friends argue (with some reason) that these are the only two times we ever play the NH when they have purpose to be truly at their best - the 6N is generally their yearly focus. So, in some ways, it’s a misleading percentage because we are 0/2 at the highest level during the last four years.
So, when I see people explaining away this loss - the manner of this loss - by talking about how great England were and how good Hansen has been (i.e., that shit happens and sometimes teams are just a bit better), I don’t get it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been an outstanding coach, but he can’t be in the very top echelon of coaches - at least not since 2015 - because when it has mattered - and when he didn’t have McCaw and Carter - he couldn’t get a good enough game plan to fulfill even one of his two most important KPIs during the last four years.
Beyond that, he’s the first coach to lose to the Irish, and was one good performance from losing the Bled. Literally, the best thing we can say about the last four years is ‘at least we still hold the Bled and didn’t go out earlier than Australia. Plus, we didn’t exactly lose to the Lions.’
Wow. I can’t believe that’s acceptable.
Now, he’ll always be special for the 2015 team, but his key successes will always be tied to a team that probably had 5 (or more) all time All Blacks in it. I feel sympathy for him, and I think he’s a funny and engaging coach who clearly loves the game and the ABs. I’d love to shake his hand and say thank you. I can’t imagine the stress and effort he has put in.
But, he should be evaluated by his results - the ones that matter. He has not strengthened the AB legacy by staying on for two more years. He should have rightly gone after 2017 - when he started ignoring future AB greats (thanks for the message Steven), while keeping his favorites around too long (Owen Franks) and trying to find ‘athletes’ (Fifita) to get us over the line, rather than a structure to beat the Lions and final at this WC that didn’t rely on them giving us opportunities.
We aren’t a better team now, than we were then.