Steve Hansen has defended pulling players out of their Super Rugby teams during the season so the All Blacks can prepare for international matches.
The All Blacks' coach was speaking at the Halberg Awards last night after winning the leadership award when he was asked about the controversial move.
"Well I don't want to, but unfortunately with the way the seasons structured you've gotta have some preparation when you're going to play another international team of the standard of France," he said.
Hansen was humble when accepting his leadership award at the 55th annual Halberg Awards last night.
"I'd just like to thank all the guys and gals back home, and the team themselves," he said.
"Over the years, everyone's done their bit and I've just been lucky enough to be at the top of the tree and not fall out of it."