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Lam slams Hansen's 'ex New Zealander' dig

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/02/2017

<span style="font-size:13px;">Bristol coach Pat Lam fires back at Steve Hansen after being labelled an "ex New Zealander" by the All Blacks coach.</span> © Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Bristol coach Pat Lam fires back at Steve Hansen after being labelled an "ex New Zealander" by the All Blacks coach. Irate former Blues coach Pat Lam has hit out at being called an "ex New Zealander" by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

Bristol coach Lam was angered by Hansen's comments following the announcement on Tuesday that the English club had signed All Blacks forward Steven Luatua.

Hansen said it was disappointing to lose the versatile Luatua, 25, and said communication between the player and New Zealand Rugby could have been better.

He also took a swipe at former Samoan and All Blacks forward Lam, who lured leading New Zealand domestic players Bundee Aki and Tom McCartney north during a four-year stint at Irish club Connacht.

"If you're an ex-New Zealander you should be a bit mindful about players' careers," Hansen told Fairfax Media.

Lam released a statement to NewstalkZB in response, saying he was "saddened and disappointed" by what he regards as a personal attack from Hansen.

He says players and coaches furthering their careers at offshore clubs has been commonplace since rugby became professional.

"I am not sure why Steve Hansen would unprecedentedly choose to single me out publicly and call me an 'Ex New Zealander'," Lam wrote.

"The only reason we don't live in New Zealand at the moment is I had an opportunity to continue to coach rugby professionally in Ireland and support my family after being sacked by the NZRU and the Blues."

Born in New Zealand to Samoan parents, Lam questioned whether Hansen regarded himself as an ex New Zealander when he coached the Welsh national team.

He says he cheered on the All Blacks with thousands of other overseas-based Kiwis when they have toured Europe in recent seasons.

He says they would have been offended to be called ex New Zealanders, particularly by the All Blacks coach.

"He has great influence because of his position of privilege and responsibility in representing New Zealand worldwide.

"Who determines and judges who is a New Zealander and who isn't?

"I don't believe that has ever been the role of the All Black head coach."

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