Former All Blacks lock Ali Williams has shared the story of how the idea of 'sweeping the sheds' became more than just a mantra for the All Blacks.

Writing a column for RugbyPass, Williams shared the story of how some of the players having a beer in the locker room with coach Steve Hansen after a win at Twickenham sparked what would become a team tradition.

"He was the one that started the whole thing," Williams writes.

"It was quite simple – there was about six of us at Twickenham having a beer after we'd won. He turned around and said 'geez, bloody pig sty this place, might as well clean it up'.


"He started cleaning it up, so we started cleaning it up with him.

"It got to the point where cleaners came in and said we can do it – but we said no, we'll do it. We stayed and cleaned the whole shed, a nod to the old adage that you leave something better than you found it.

"That was one of the things he drove. This is the type of man he is and this is the type of leadership he has."

Williams, who represented the All Blacks 77 times between 2002 and 2012, paid his respects to the departing All Blacks coach in his column. While Hansen was an assistant coach during the majority of the 2011 Rugby World Cup winner's All Blacks career, Williams says Hansen is someone who knows how to get the best out of people.

"He tries to create a unique relationship with players. There's a friendship element, but as I said, he'll never give you a straight answer. You've got to find the answer within yourself.

"That's how he gets the best out of people – it's the old policeman type of attitude where he's not going to tell you what he saw or what he thinks, you're going to tell him what you think and saw, and if it matches what he thinks then you're on the same page. If it doesn't then he's going to get you to come up to where he needs you to be.

"He'll ask 'do you think you're fit?' and you'll turn around and think 'well maybe I'm not that fit' so you'll get fitter."

Hansen revealed earlier this month that he would be stepping away from his post as All Blacks head coach after next year's World Cup. In the 95 matches the All Blacks have played since Hansen replaced Sir Graham Henry at the helm, they've won 84 times and suffered just eight losses.