Steve Hansen says England will be ‘rubbing their hands’ at the prospect of an ‘easy’ World Cup passage… as the former All Blacks coach hits out at the lopsided tournament with the current top-five teams on the other half of the draw

  • Steve Hansen has slammed the lopsided nature of the World Cup draw 
  • Ireland, France, New Zealand, South Africa and Scotland are on the same side
  • He says Australia and England will be ‘rubbing their hands’ because of this 

Steve Hansen says England should be ‘rubbing their hands’ at the prospect of an ‘easy’ passage through this year’s World Cup.

The draw was made back in 2020 and the current top-five teams – Ireland, France, New Zealand, South Africa and Scotland – are all on the same half of the draw.

Three of the top-five nations will crash out before the semi-finals and Hansen, who lifted the trophy twice with the All Blacks, has criticised the lopsided nature of the tournament.

‘The World Cup is going to be great,’ said Hansen, who will coach a World XV against the Barbarians this weekend. ‘You’ve got so many good teams.

‘I don’t get the draw, when you have got the top five countries all on one side of the draw, that doesn’t make sense,’

Steve Hansen insists England will be ‘rubbing their hands’ over the World Cup draw  as he prepares to coach a World XV against the Barbarians this weekend

England are on the opposite half of the draw to the current top-five sides in the world

‘There’s going to be one of the top three countries in the world kicked out in the quarter-finals and people are going to berate them.

‘If you are Australia or England at the moment, you are rubbing your hands, aren’t you? You are going to get an easy ride in if you do things right.

‘They’re on the right side of the pool. They’re not going to be knocking one another out. Are Australia a show? Yeah I think they’re a big show. I think England are a show for the same reason. They’re on that side of the pool and they’re being left alone while the big guys all knock themselves out.

‘Scotland’s number five in the world and they are in the same pool as number one (Ireland) and number three (South Africa) – an ugly old pool.

‘What did they use to call that, the pool of death? In 2015, it was Australia, England and Wales.’

Hansen will be coming up against former England coach Eddie Jones in the coaching box at Twickenham on Sunday.

Former Wallabies full-back Israel Folau, who was sacked by Australia four years ago for homophobic social media posts, is part of the World XV and Hansen hailed the decision to fly the pride flag at the match.

‘I think it’s great, it’s a consequence of Folau’s selection and I think it’s a good thing,’ said Hansen.

It means England will avoid the likes of reigning holders South Africa (pictured) until the final

‘I know by picking him that there will be some people hurt. And I get that. However, I want those people to understand that Israel’s belief and views are not ours. And we don’t agree with them.

‘It’s an opportunity to show support to that flag. I don’t have a problem with it, I think it’s great.

‘There wouldn’t be one there if Israel wasn’t playing so whenever we can bring attention to people who are suffering in a positive way I think that’s good. They deserve to be loved and cared as much as anybody else.’

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