All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has revealed how the All Blacks and England linked up after their dramatic Rugby World Cup semifinal clash last night.
Speaking the day after the All Blacks were dumped out of the Cup by a superb English outfit, Hansen mentioned the respectful post-match scenes between the two sides as they shared a drink and a word after the clash.
"The nice thing was that some of their guys came into our shed, and our coaching group went down to their shed and shared a beer.
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"The game's moved on a heck of a lot from a lot of its traditions, but at the end of the day it is only a game. It means a lot – that's not to put down what it means – but it's only a game, and what's more important is the people that come out of it, the characters that come out of it, the friendships you make and the learning you do as a person," Hansen said.
Hansen exchanged words with rival coach and friend Eddie Jones after the game, with both parties having immense respect for one another.
"There was a lot of respect from both sides. He was particularly mindful of how I was feeling, and I was quite encouraging of what they have to do next."
England's Kiwi defence John Mitchell also has relationships with many of the All Blacks' coaching staff, so the two coaching groups enjoyed their post-match catch-up.
"Mitch is a great teammate of Fozz's [All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster] and he coached Stormy [All Blacks assistant coach Scott McLeod], so it was nice for them to interact, Gilly [All Blacks fitness trainer Nic Gill] I think worked for Mitch as well.
"Wisey [England assistant coach Scott Wisemantel] is a character in his own right, we know him well, and it was nice to meet some of the younger guys in their coaching crew as well. As I said earlier in the week, one team's going to miss out, and whoever it is, they just have to take it on the chin – and it's in those moments that I think it's important that you stand up and show that. Sport can teach you a lot, so it was nice to share a beer with them."
Hansen also reflected on the importance to show humility in defeat.
"Winning is easy - you don't get too much poked at you and you're happy. When you lose you're gutted, but at the same time I believe you have to show humility, do it gracefully, and be honest about the things that you have to be honest about.
"Sometimes you just have to bite down on your gumshield and suck it up."