Steve Hansen declares 2018 Wallabies 'even more dangerous' ahead of Bledisloe Opener

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen rates the 2018 Wallabies more dangerous than last year's model and isn't backing away from branding them favourites for their opening clash.

The defending Rugby Championship winners and long-time Bledisloe Cup holders arrived in Sydney on Sunday evening, six days before their match at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Hansen continued his complimentary assessment of the Wallabies, rating them "a really good side" after their three-Test home series loss to Six Nations champions Ireland.

"They won that first one and the second two games they didn't get much luck did they, so it could have gone either way that series," Hansen said.

"I thought they got a lot of intensity, they played with a lot of skill."

He felt the Wallabies were benefiting from the work of skills coach Michael Byrne, who formerly held a similar position with New Zealand rugby.

"The work Mick has been doing with them, their running lines are really good, their passes have got a lot better, so it's going to make them even more dangerous," Hansen said.

While New Zealand blew Australia away in the first half of last year's Bledisloe opener, Hansen suggested the Wallabies would benefit form having a trial just over two weeks out from Saturday's game.

"I think they have learnt from that haven't they and they've had a game,' Hansen said.

"Every year we have a bit of a game for the guys that don't make it too far in the (Super Rugby) finals and I think that's all the difference was.

'It was a titanic struggle for the other two games."

The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe since 2003, but Hansen last week declared Australia were worthy of favouritism this year.

He reiterated that opinion on Sunday, based on Australia winning their most recent contest, the 2017 dead rubber.

"They won the last one, they have to be (favourites) don't they?" Hansen said.

The reduced number of Super Rugby teams in Australia has the Wallabies in better shape for the Bledisloe Cup, the All Blacks coach has said. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: Steve Hansen weighs in on latest haka debate

Steve Hansen has weighed in on the latest haka debate fuelled by "The Jersey" written by British rugby writer Peter Bills.

As the All Blacks departed from Christchurch this afternoon for the Rugby Championship opener the coach responded to claims made in a book by former All Black Kees Meeuws that the haka was overdone.

"I found it interesting that someone like Kees would say its been used too much when he was there he thrived on it," said Hansen.

"We don't use it any different than we've ever used it, it's part of the commencement of the game, and it means a lot to this group, they understand all about it and we understand it’s not for anybody else other than ourselves."

The All Blacks coach responded to claims in the book by former All Black Kees Meeuws that the haka was overdone. Source: 1 NEWS


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Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell to join Eddie Jones' England setup

Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell is on the verge of linking up with England, according to a report out of the Daily Mail.

Mitchell, 54, will reportedly join Eddie Jones' coaching set up as a defence coach, filling the boots of Paul Gustard until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The only stumbling block appears to be between the English Rugby Football Union, and Mitchell's current employers, the Bulls, with the parties unable to agree on a compensation fee.

Mitchell was coach of the All Blacks from 2001 to 2003, overseeing the disappointing World Cup campaign in Australia, and has since taken jobs in Australia, South Africa, England and the USA.

USA Coach John Mitchell.
Maori All Blacks v USA at Toyota Park in Chicago, USA. Friday 4 November 2016. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
USA Coach John Mitchell. Source: Photosport


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