Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

All Blacks: How Steve Hansen deals with a loss

The wrong impression could easily be drawn about what this week has been all about for the All Blacks; what role head coach Steve Hansen has played.

It seems, to those of a certain age at least, as if the key point to grasp is that Hansen has delivered the proverbial kick up the backside. The players can talk of a sobering review and all the "learnings" they took from it, but surely that's an old-fashioned rocket being put up them?

These things don't need to be overcomplicated, do they? All Blacks have a shocker, coach tells them, everyone moves on.

It is, however, quite a bit more complicated than that. Whatever might be drawn from the players' sheepish smiles and slow head shaking when they talk of how the coach has been in Dublin, the process has had significantly more layers to it.

"Motivation should look after itself every week," says Hansen. "I always laugh when I read articles [that report], 'Oh yeah, he [Hansen] is a great motivator'.

If you can't motivate yourself, you shouldn't be in an international team.

"To perform at a high level of competition of any sport, it is self motivation that is the key. It is not my job to motivate them. My job, along with the other staff, is to create an environment where they can use that motivation to the best of their ability to go out and perform."

The performance on Sunday will be the ultimate proof as to how well Hansen managed to do that, but the players have indicated they have found the week to be equal parts sobering, inspiring and cathartic.

It's the catharsis that matters most. There's no value in chastening players if they can't emerge energised and confident and it's the way Hansen puts his players back together again that sets him apart as one of the world's best coaches.

The whole point of the review exercise was not to humiliate players and then hope that would serve as their motivation for the rematch. It was about forcing them to see the mistakes they made, evaluate why they made them and then build strategies on how they can avoid repeating those errors.

"It is pretty scary to be honest," says Dane Coles. "But I think that is what makes this work. With Steve, it is pretty straight up and down - he tells you how it is and that is the best thing for you. He doesn't beat around the bush. He just wants to make sure you don't make those mistakes again and you take all the lessons out of it.

"I wouldn't have it any other way. He has been doing that from the first time I came in to this team and I think that is one of the big reasons why we perform consistently. He'll get into you and it is not personal. He is just trying to get the best out of you."

Honesty is the key to everything.

"I think it is something you learn," says Coles. "In your first year, you kind of think 'Oh, this guy is not too bad' and then he can come down on you like a tonne of bricks. I have learned that. When we are not playing rugby, you can talk to him and he is a funny guy.

He's got a bit of humour on him and then, when it is business time and you do something wrong, he tells you."

Now in his fifth year as an All Black, Coles has come to treasure the culture Hansen has created. No one is motivated by fear.

"That's the biggest thing," says Coles who had a couple of poor lineout throws early in Chicago match and wasn't his usual influential self.

"In my younger days I maybe would have said 'Oh man, I don't deserve to be here'. But now I accept it and know our lineout has been going pretty well all year and one bad lineout doesn't make me a bad thrower."

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