All Blacks: O'Neill scoffs at Hansen claims

New Zealand-born Wallabies' centre Mike Harris kicked 15 points against the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand-born Wallabies' centre Mike Harris kicked 15 points against the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images

Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill has brushed off All Blacks' coach Steven Hansen's suggestion that the Wallabies are unfairly poaching Kiwi talent.

After the All Blacks were held to a disappointing 18-18 draw against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday night, Hansen said he was disappointed that the Kiwi-born Mike Harris, who played at fullback for the Wallabies and kicked five penalties in the game, was picked.

"I am pleased he [Harris] has achieved his dream ... what I find frustrating is that Australia is trying to build their game and put more franchises in place but all they're doing is putting franchises in place and stealing our players.''

O'Neill told the Sydney Morning Herald that Hansen was off the mark.

"The comments from the All Blacks' coach are insulting, ill-informed, and clearly made without reviewing New Zealand's history for fielding players born outside their borders,'' O'Neill said.

"I would not even want to guess how many players born in the South Pacific islands have worn the All Blacks' jersey - The reality is there are players who will look for opportunities to play test rugby.''

Fledgling Super Rugby franchise the Melbourne Rebels have recently signed Wellingtonians Jason Woodward and Scott Fuglistaller and Auckland prop Pauliasi Manu, while New Zealand-raised Pat Leafa, who played in Canberra's club competition last year, will also join the Rebels next season.

O'Neill will leave his role as ARU chief executive on October 31.

- APNZ

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