Steve Hansen has revealed one of his biggest mistakes as part of the All Blacks' selection panel.
Speaking to the Herald's Liam Napier in an exclusive Premium interview about how he selects his All Blacks teams, Hansen revealed his main regret, when he was part of a selection group that elevated Isaia Toeava to the All Blacks before he was ready for test rugby.
The case Hansen regrets came alongside Graham Henry, Wayne Smith, and the late Brian Lochore when they rushed the 19-year-old into the All Blacks in 2005.
"I look back on my time as a selector and I have definitely picked a couple of players that weren't ready. It's not you pick the wrong person, sometimes you pick them too early," Hansen said.
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"I look at Isaia Toeava as one of those. He was probably the most talented rugby player I've ever seen and we put him in the team too early.
"It's an easy mistake to make. You think he's got all the rugby attributes but that's where you learn they've got to have the mental fortitude to cope with that whole thing.
"You feel bad about that because there's a young man who went on and won a World Cup medal but we didn't see the best of him because we put him under too much pressure too early.
"Everyone makes mistakes. You don't make them by yourself. There's a group who picks the team so you can't take all the credit and you can't take all the blame either."
To read the full interview with Steve Hansen, click here, or become a Premium subscriber with the link below.