All Blacks coach questions loyalty of Australian fans
THE All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is sticking by his wacky suggestion that the Wallabies are favourites to win this year's Bledisloe Cup and says he can't understand why Australian rugby fans have lost faith in their team.
Despite being ridiculed on both sides of the Tasman, Hansen continues to refute the idea that the New Zealanders are overwhelming favourites to win next weekend's series opener at ANZ Stadium, saying "they (Australia) won the last one so they have to be, don't they?"
Hansen also took a cheeky swipe at Australia's fickle rugby supporters, saying they were wrong to give up on the Wallabies and if they were "good rugby fans" they should support them through thick and thin.
"I think that the local fans are probably moving away from Australian rugby and they shouldn't do that," he said.
"The Australian team, I believe anyway, is a really good side and they should keep supporting them.
"If they're good rugby fans, come along it'll be a great game."
While Australian rugby crowds have been steadily dwindling with each season the Wallabies fail to win back the Bledisloe Cup, Hansen said the series had lost none of its appeal in New Zealand, where there was no room for sympathy.
"Little brother always like to beat big brother and big brother doesn't like losing to little brother and that keeps the competition alive," Hansen said.
"I don't think there's any New Zealanders are hoping that Australia will win."
Hansen does expect this season's three-match series to be tighter than last year when the All Blacks caught the Australians napping in the first match and it was all over by the time they recovered.
He said the Wallabies should be better prepared this time after their tough series against Ireland and the trial match they played to tune up for the Test.
"I think they've learnt from that," Hansen said.
"Every year we have a bit of game for the guys that don't make it through too far in the finals and I think that's all the difference was.
"Once that was sorted out it was a titanic struggle for the other two games so I think it's going to be a great contest and three relay good games."
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