19 Oct 2014

Hansen sorry for McKenzie

5:27 pm on 19 October 2014

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says his team takes no joy in Ewen McKenzie cutting short his coaching reign.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Photo: PHOTOSPORT

McKenzie rose to the post of Australia coach on the back of his immense success against Kiwi teams (14-5) in Super Rugby as Queensland mentor from 2010-13.

But in his six Tests as national coach, the Wallabies failed to win a match against their arch rivals.

The rain-sodden 12-12 draw in Sydney in August was the closest McKenzie came to triumphing against the world champions, although his team should have also closed out Saturday night's Bledisloe clash at Suncorp Stadium.

Leading by 10 points with 11 minutes left, the Wallabies ultimately fell 29-28 with Colin Slade kicking a gut-wrenching conversion after the full-time hooter.

It meant McKenzie's final record dipped below a 50 per cent success rate - the least for an Australian coach in the modern era - with 10 wins, one draw and 11 losses from his 22 Tests in charge.

Hansen congratulated the Wallabies for one of the best performances he'd seen from Australia and expressed sympathy for his fallen counterpart.

"It's sad to hear that and we take no joy out of that at all to be frank," the New Zealand coach said.

"I'm not sure you out there know how tough it is to coach an international side and I can tell you when things are going really good it's still bloody tough.

Hansen felt Australia's apparent on-field woes had been blown out of proportion.

"They're playing good footy," he said. "We only beat them by a point."

Former Australia skippers Phil Kearns and George Gregan both rallied behind McKenzie, a 51-Test prop who was a member of the 1991 World Cup-winning side.

Kearns said an under-pressure McKenzie had been treated poorly by the media in the fallout from the Kurtley Beale texting scandal that had brought question marks over his appointment of business manager Di Patston.

"Ewen's been hung out to dry by the press over the past couple of weeks in writing articles that were just clearly wrong."

"We've lost potentially a great coach. We didn't have the results on the board just yet but I think we've all just agreed here tonight there were some positive steps forward."

Gregan pointed to McKenzie's efforts to lead the Wallabies to a seven-Test winning streak, their best in the past decade, after a series clean sweep of France in June.

"There were a few bumps on the road, which is often the case on a journey that is to a Rugby World Cup, but you could see positive signs.

"We're all still in a sense of shock. That's for sure."