21 Nov 2017

Gatland looking forward to having a drink with Hansen

11:44 am on 21 November 2017

The Wales coach Warren Gatland says he is looking forward to having a drink with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after their game in Cardiff this weekend.

Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland chat after the Lions series.

Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland chat after the Lions series. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The pair have been portrayed as bitter rivals after Gatland led the British and Irish Lions to a 1-1 series draw in New Zealand earlier this year.

But New Zealander Gatland says he admires Hansen's achievements.

"People try to make a lot of stuff about myself and Steve, but I'd like to think there's no issues," he said.

"I've got a huge amount of respect for what he's achieved in the game and the success he's had as an All Blacks coach has been absolutely outstanding.

"And so I look forward to catching up with him on Saturday and having a drink after the game."

Gatland was subject to criticism by a section of the New Zealand media during the Lions tour, at one stage being portrayed as a clown on the front page of the New Zealand Herald.

He published an autobiography after that which dealt with his treatment by the New Zealand media and also included the line: "I have heard of some things about the All Blacks that could be quite explosive if they were made public."

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Photo: AFP

Yesterday Hansen told a newspaper reporter "not to go there" when he asked about the rivalry with the Wales coach.

And Gatland said relationships between the Wales and All Blacks management teams were cordial.

"In recent years as two management groups on a couple of occasions we've gone out for meals during the week and we all understand the pressures that we're under," he added.

"And the pressures that we're under in terms of performance and result are not as a result of our relationship, but of people trying to stoke the fires.

"He understands that and I understand that and it's about Wales and the All Blacks this week and us trying to get a victory against the All Blacks, which we haven't had since 1953."

Wales have lost 29 consecutive games against the All Blacks since that 13-8 win in Cardiff.