All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has come under fire on social media for not attempting to pronounce the name of halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi during a TV interview on Monday night.

Tahuriorangi was invited to attend the All Blacks' 'Foundation Day' in Wellington after a scintillating start to the Super Rugby season in the Chiefs jersey.

The former Rotorua Boys' High School student attended the day with a number of other players from the Chiefs, Blues, and Hurricanes with the aim of laying the foundation for the upcoming All Blacks season.

In an interview with One News, Hansen praised Tahuriorangi's form this season but cut short a question on the player by referring to him as "Triple T".

Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has had a good season with the Chiefs. Photo / Photosport
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi has had a good season with the Chiefs. Photo / Photosport

"It's a lot easier to say Triple T," Hansen chuckled before adding: "Well, he's playing well, he's a lovely passer of the ball, he's got a running game, we just felt we would like to see a little bit more of him.

"The Chiefs have got the bye so Coops [coach Colin Cooper] was happy enough for us to bring him down and we took the opportunity to do that and he's a nice young man."

Not everyone saw the lighter side of Hansen's attempt to avoid a potential tongue-twister.

Veteran sports broadcaster Keith Quinn slammed Hansen on Twitter for not calling Tahuriorangi by his full name (ironically misspelling the surname himself).

"Memo to Steve Hansen: if you're going to include Te Toiroa Tahuiorangi in your All Black plans it's not acceptable to just call him 'Triple T' as you did on TV tonight. As you tell your teams before a test: 'practice, practice, practice!'

Followers were divided in their reaction, with a number of fans expressing their disappointment at Hansen's apparent gaffe.

Others, however, leaped to Hansen's defence - insisting "Triple T" is a nickname Tahuriorangi often uses himself.

Tahuriorangi was in the Maori All Blacks team who played the British and Irish Lions in Rotorua last year. He's made an impressive start to the season for the Chiefs and will be fighting to secure the third halfback spot in the All Blacks behind Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara.

To get the day's top sports stories in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here