Hansen worried rugby has become too defensive

New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says that he is concerned about the future of rugby as it has become too defence orientated.

Hansen attended two Six Nations matches last weekend and he says that teams have become scared to run the ball as the defences are so strong so they kick the ball for territory most of the time.

The All Black coach says that coaches have a responsibility to make the game entertaining or else the fans will start switching off.

“I’ve actually got big concerns about the game at the moment, because there are not enough tries being scored, which is turning the fans away,” Hansen told Wales Online.

“I think there’s a responsibility on the coaches and the players as well. We are trying to get defensive lines up really quickly, but I think we’ve probably gone too far with it.”

“There’s a responsibility to the game. If we don’t do that, then we are not going to have any running rugby.

Hansen attended the France v Wales match in Paris and the Ireland v England match in Dublin and he says that teams should be more focused on scoring tries.

“There were only three tries scored in the two games I went to over the weekend. No-one is prepared to take the risk, because they are going to get belted behind the advantage line if they move the ball.

“If we want to encourage people to watch the game, then scoring tries is what does that,” said the All Black coach.

“We can get blinded by a loyalty to our team or we can say to ourselves, ‘Is this really the game we want?’

Southern Hemisphere Rugby officials see rugby as an entertainment product as it goes up against other codes of sport and entertainment and they focus more on the code being more entertaining so they it will bring in more money from the broadcasters. Ironically the Northern Hemisphere game has focused on this less but the game there is thriving.

Hansen says that something needs to be done about the current style of the game which is more kick dominated than a running game.

“If we don’t address it, then we are going to get very boring rugby matches.

“In the games I’ve seen in this Six Nations, I haven’t seen teams wanting to move the ball because they know they can’t. It’s about planning the right kick next to win the game.

“I think the Welsh have got a good back-line, but they are not prepared to use it because it’s too high risk.”

Hansen says with rugby global showpiece the Rugby World Cup coming up the game will be watched by huge audiences who will want to be entertained.

“You keep hearing players say, let’s see how far they can push the law. So it’s too easy just to blame the refs.

“Somewhere down the line we’ve got to say look, the game is more important than this and we’ve got to do something about it.

“We are about to go into a showpiece for the sport at the World Cup. There are going to be millions and millions of people watching it and then all you’re going to see is people kick goals.”

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