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British media tout Hansen as Lions' coach

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    15 Dec 2018     Getty Images

The Daily Telegraph suggested he could be added to the Rugby Football Union's shopping list as a replacement for England coach Eddie Jones.

The future of world rugby in the wake of the Cup would be affected by the transitions of the coaches of the world's three best teams. Hansen is stepping down from the No.1 All Blacks, Joe Schmidt is retiring from his role with the Ireland side he lifted to No.2 while Warren Gatland's run with Wales is ending as they go into a new season at No.3.

The Times joined the list of outlets who felt Hansen might be a consideration for England.

"Nigel Melville, due to become the RFU's interim chief executive, would presumably feel duty bound to speak to Hansen, as he said he would with Warren Gatland.

"In a sport dominated by a handful of nations, there are not enough coaches around with a successful international track record to overlook," the Times said.

However, it noted Melville would have his work cut out in persuading Hansen. The All Blacks liked to keep their secrets safe when former coaches were on the market.

"In 2012, Stuart Lancaster attempted to recruit [Wayne] Smith in the period when he had left the All Blacks and returned to coaching in Super Rugby with the Chiefs. Smith was tempted by the offer, but eventually concluded: 'I didn't want to walk out of the All Blacks with the gameplan under my arm and go to a competing nation immediately.'

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew had commented at the time, "He is one of our intellectual properties. He has been with us for so long and been such an important contributor to developing things that work in our environment that we think he is a special case to protect."

The Times said a similar rationale would probably apply with Hansen. It would be unthinkable that he would take a similar role with one of the All Blacks' genuine rivals.

However, the Times did wonder if a suitable course, which would not benefit one of the All Blacks' rivals would see Hansen sounded out as a coach for the British & Irish Lions for their tour to South Africa in 2021.

It said while Schmidt and Gatland would come into contention they might not be keen to take on the role; Schmidt because of the limited preparation time it would involve and Gatland because he would probably prefer a newer challenge after tours to Australia and New Zealand as coach.

"So why not Hansen? Working with the best of British would not require him to bring the secrets of the All Blacks' playbook to the northern hemisphere and he has plentiful knowledge of playing against the Springboks.

"The previous Lions series did not go according to plan for Hansen, a drawn series seen as a disappointing result for his All Blacks side on home soil. It would be quite some tale if he were to be more successful in the next Lions series, this time leading the side wearing red," it said.