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2019 Rugby World Cup: Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland share goodbyes


The two coaches, both born in New Zealand, coached their team for the last time in the All Blacks (40-17) match. The Welsh for Gatland, the New Zealanders for Hansen.

Warren Gatland, right, shakes hands with his countryman Steve Hansen on November 1 in Tokyo. Mark Baker / AP

He walked a long time on the lawn, his hands in his pockets. He sometimes took out one or two, to greet someone who stayed in the stands. Then he adjusted the collar of his suit tie, to better close the march and go collect his medal third. Not much, for a coach of the stature of Steve Hansen, already double world champion: in 2011 as a deputy, and in 2015 as a head coach.

Friday, Nov. 1, the New Zealander played his last coaching match with the All Blacks: the third place, the "small final" of the World Cup, as it is called nicely. A solid victory over the Welsh (40-17), in a stadium in Tokyo increasingly chilly, on the eve of the grand final, South Africa-England, scheduled the next day in Yokohama.

Read also Rugby World Cup 2019: New Zealand wins the small final (40-17) against Wales

A few meters away, the Welsh team is still in line, which has also remained on the pitch. With the same impetus, here is who bows before the public. Warren Gatland too, at the end of the line. The other New Zealander also played his last coaching match, but he on the side of the Welsh. He too with a tie (red, like his team), and a cover in addition.

Funny common goodbyes for these two compatriots. Two examples of stability, Hansen in post with the New Zealanders since late 2011, Gatland with the Welsh since late 2007. To decide on Saturday, "a game to drink" would also have been possible. It was the joke of the president of the New Zealand Rugby Federation, Steve Tew, reported by Gatland. All this to say the limited interest of the match.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Rugby World Cup 2019: for twelve years, an All Black with a baguette at Welsh

" A privilege "

But no, we played rugby. Rather well, as if to forget the defeats in the semifinals, against the English for the All Blacks, against the South Africans for the Welsh. Which Welsh are about to leave twelve years with Gatland, longevity as we do not see anymore. Especially when you compare it to the coming and going in the France team.

Visibly moved, he said he had "spent some great years in Wales." And met people just as "great" , "incredibly hospitable" . Which does not exclude, he assures us, from having "already the head to the next challenge". It will be in the native country. End Welsh Exile: As early as next year, Warren Gatland will coach the New Zealand Waikato Chiefs team based in the City of Hamilton. Another challenge, more specific: the coach will coordinate for the third time the tour of the British and Irish Lions, in the summer of 2021, in South Africa.

Steve Hansen, on the other hand, could leave the country. For the now-former coach of the All Blacks, the rumor now evokes a position in a Japanese club. In which case he would join Keiran Reid. The third line is about to leave the New Zealand team Crusaders (Christchurch), to join the formation of Toyota Verblitz . "This jersey means a lot, it's a whole part of my life," said the player Friday, for his last game as captain of the All Blacks, at age 34. Hansen, meanwhile, speaks of "privilege". That of having trained the best team in the world, and surely one of the most domineering in the history of his sport.

Be it one or the other, even clamor in the stadium at the end of the match. Same applause when the giant screens projected the face of Hansen, 60, then that of Gatland, four years younger. Without even having uttered a single word.

"We have very few fencers in Wales compared to other nations, so we're boxing well above our category" (Warren Gatland)

This is undoubtedly what we recognize such beautiful records. Hansen side, a World Cup (2015) and six Rugby Championship, this annual meeting with Australia, South Africa and Argentina. Review of his 108 games: only ten defeats. Gatland side: four titles at the Six Nations Tournament, including three Grand Slam events (2008, 2012 and 2019); performance after which the Blues, they have run since 2010 ... "We have very few licensees in Wales compared to other nations, so we are boxing well above our category," Gatland already considered, rightly, after the semifinal lost against South Africa.

Le Monde had met Steve Hansen, in November 2018, in a palace in Greater London. Individual appointments of ten minutes (it was the order ...), which had finally doubled over the course of the conversation. It was before a test-match won against England. The coach spoke about his daughter, she also worn on rugby. "I was not really convinced that it was a sport for women . Which is probably pretty retrograde. And then I realized that it could be the case. He had also mentioned his companion . "Does my wife want me to watch horse racing and rugby? No, she wants me to be at her side. She is the CEO of the family. It remains to be seen whether the small business will move in the next few weeks or not.

Adrien Pécout

Source: lemonde

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