All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has repeated his views that the Government ought to sponsor the rugby national team, saying it’s a world-renowned brand.
Hansen revealed after last month’s Bledisloe Cup-clinching win that he had asked Grant Robertson for funding while the sports minister and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were in the Eden Park changing rooms.
Hansen reiterated those views today in Wellington, saying the brand was world renowned and that’s why he felt the Government should do more for the team and rugby in general.
"It’s not about going cap in hand to the Government, the whole point of making that comment and it’s interesting everybody has jumped on it," Hansen told media in Wellington.
"This is my opinion and people can boo hoo it if they like, I believe the All Blacks over a long time have been a great brand for New Zealand.”
"You can go anywhere in the world and people may not know New Zealand, but they’ve heard of the All Blacks, I think it’s an opportunity for us to take New Zealand to the rest of the world by using that brand, be it in tourism, business and that’s why I mentioned they should be one of our sponsors."
Hansen said in his mind, rugby continued to be an important part of New Zealand’s national identity and he felt the country’s top players were missing out on rewards.
"Rugby in this country is an important part of who we are and what we are and not all the money that we make goes to the players, it goes to grassroots and funding development and women’s rugby. I don’t know if you’ve seen the budget but we’re spending more than we’ve got and that’s not a great way to run your budget."
"If the money goes to grassroots and developing women’s rugby and developing young talent to come through and be All Blacks then maybe some of the money we get from Adidas and AIG and our other sponsors can be used to keep players here."
Hansen added that he felt that complacency did not only need to be fought within the team, but by the fans and wider country as well.
"The word complacency has been bandied around about us as a team, we’re fighting it all the time and we need to within our fans and within our country cause I’m sure there’d be a different attitude if this team wasn’t performing."