Rugby World Cup 2011
Hansen calls for global season
Jenni Rutherford in Auckland
October 6, 2011
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen talks to the media ahead of his side's quarter-final clash with Argentina
All Blacks' assistant coach Steve Hansen has re-opened debate about whether there should be a global season in world rugby.
New Zealand, like many of the sides left in the tournament, have been rocked and weakened by injuries to key players and Hansen believes they are suffering from a lack of recovery time.
"I don't think it's just this year's workload, it's a continuation of a workload," Hansen said. "Rugby league players get 16 weeks to get rid of their niggles and have a pre-season, I think rugby union has four weeks or five weeks before they have to go into work. I don't think it's much different in the northern hemisphere to be honest. We need a global season and the only people who can do that are the IRB so best to talk to them."
The All Blacks have suffered the blow of losing Dan Carter to a freak groin injury but of more pressing concern is the ongoing stress fracture to captain Richie McCaw's foot. He will play through the pain as long as the All Blacks remain in the World Cup, after having to manage the injury for most of the season. Zac Guildford, who was a long shot to play against Argentina, is definitely out with a small hamstring tear.
"There is no solution unless we have a global season," Hansen said. "People have got to be prepared to say, 'our players are worth looking after and this is what we need to do make the next step in the game'."
Northern hemisphere teams have not escaped the injury toll either with England centre Mike Tindall suffering from a dead leg and Ireland waiting to finalise who will play at hooker against Wales.
"I'd say they are feeling the same as we are, the difference is they don't have to travel very far," Hansen, the former Wales coach, continued. "The furtherest place you probably travel is probably an hour, an hour and half and you get back home, our guys have to go to South Africa and various other places so that does make a difference we saw that with the Crusaders."
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