Hansen: Sabbaticals not bad
Wellington - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen refutes the suggestion Super Rugby is
losing out when top players like Dan Carter and Richie McCaw take
extended breaks from the game.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, Carter announced on Friday he is taking a six-month sabbatical after
the All Blacks' end of year tour to Europe in November, but offered
little detail on his plans.
In his 11th season as a professional player the 95-Test veteran said
his battered body is in need of a break if he is to get through to the
World Cup in 2015.
However, though the first five-eighth will potentially miss only
three Tests, against England next June, the 31-year-old's decision means
he will play little or no part in the Crusaders 2014 campaign.
Many feel that's unfair on Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder who had
to do without McCaw for all but two brief appearances this year after
coming off his own six-month break from the game.
But Hansen said on Friday the long term pay off to the Crusaders and
All Blacks from the star pair's absence out-weighed the short term
"I think we'll get a number of seasons out of Dan Carter whereas we
may only get one if we weren't flexible enough to say, yep, you can have
an extended break," Hansen said.
"It's six months out of what's been a tremendous career and it lets
him have another three, four seasons then we are all going to win.
"The risk we run if we don't look after our athletes is they do
break down or they get sick of it and frustrated and go overseas and we
don't want that.
"We want all our players here. If you look at it it's only guys who
have been around a long, long time that are getting these extended
breaks. It's not someone who has only been around for five minutes.
"It's somebody who had earned the right to have that and have the
support of the fans the coaches and the administrators. I think it's a
Hansen, a former Crusaders coach himself, commended the way Blackadder had handled the situation.
"He understands that and realises if he wants Dan Carter past this
moment he has to be like all of us and be flexible in his thinking."
Carter sees similarities between his break and McCaw's and said
talking to his All Blacks captain about his own experience had helped
him make up his mind.
He confirmed he would not play any rugby during
his break and would not make any decisions around his comeback until the
middle of next year.
''There was a bit of speculation about playing a full club season
[for Southbridge]. I'm not sure where that came from; probably the old
man throwing something out there," Carter said. ''I'm sure he'd love
that, but no, I'm not going to be playing any rugby in that six
McCaw recently returned from his six-month sabbatical for the last few matches of the Crusaders' Super Rugby campaign.
Carter said it was too early to put a date on his return.
''Returning to play is something you manage closer to the time. I haven't really thought too much about that,'' he said.
"I'll have those conversations with [Hansen and Blackadder] and my
club coaches closer to the time - the middle of next year when I'm
looking to return to play.''