3 Sep 2015

Rejected players ask All Blacks coach why?

3:17 pm on 3 September 2015

Players who missed out the All Blacks World Cup have had the chance to interrogate coach Steve Hansen on why - but none opted to put him through the ringer.

Hansen met with the dozen players who missed out the squad in Wellington today to explain the reason behind their omissions and answering any questions they might have.

He said the key message he gave the players was about remaining ready in case they were called into the squad - as history suggested some of them would be needed.

"Most of the questions were pretty predictable and the first thing they want to know is why? And you can only be as honest as you possibly can be and that's been our ethos right from the word go. So while they may not agree with it, they can never come back and 'say you weren't honest with me'," said Hansen.

Hansen said he did not have players complaining about their omission.

Steve Hansen (L) with Dan Carter

Steve Hansen (L) with Dan Carter Photo: Photosport

"It's not about complaints and grievances, it's about understanding. Understanding is the key thing to being able to accept things. So we have given them plenty of opportunity to ask the questions they need to ask and made it very clear what we want.

"They're in position today to be able to hear it. If you try and tell them these things along with the bad news (of missing out on selection) at the same time, they just don't hear it."

Hansen said the key message he had given those who missed out was to remain motivated, as they could still be called up to the World Cup, and to also make sure they went back to their provinces and simply enjoyed playing rugby.

Israel Dagg and Corey Jane were the two most high profile players to miss out and Hansen said they most probably regretted posting comments on social media suggesting missing out on the World Cup squad signalled the end of their international careers.

"Social media is a wonderful thing, but it's also a problem isn't it? People sometimes use it when they are emotional and in a state. And when they have time to sit back and reflect, they probably wouldn't do it."

Israel Dagg and Andy Ellis didn't have strong performances in the test against Samoa in Apia.

Israel Dagg (left) and Andy Ellis were among the players to miss out on the World Cup squad. Photo: Photosport

"Izzy's 27-years-old and he could play another 30 Test matches. Corey's 33 and we've got guys older than that in the team so he's capable of playing more. But what they've got to be able to do is go away and reflect on the messages they've had today and bounce back," said Hansen.

Dagg said he still wanted to be part of the All Blacks.

"But you never know it could be my last or I could be back... I'm on 49 tests, I'm 27-years-old and hopefully I can get back into that jersey, but I know it's going to take a lot of hard work and there's so much competition.

"If I get there, I get there but if not I'll just keep working hard," he said.

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