Cape Town - All
Blacks coach Steve Hansen is disappointed that he did not get a chance
to speak to Steven Luatua before the Blues back-rower decided to join
Premiership club Bristol.
The 25-year-old, who has represented New Zealand in 15 Tests since
2013, signed a two-year deal with Bristol, who will be coached by former
Blues head coach Pat Lam next season.
Luatua, who battled for a regular place in Hansen's squad recently,
is available for the upcoming British and Irish Lions series, but may
find it difficult to make the All Blacks squad now that he has decided
to move abroad.
Hansen admitted that it is frustrating that he was not afforded the
opportunity to discuss the future with Luatua, who follows in the
footsteps of Aaron Cruden, Charles Piutau, Frank Halai and Francis Saili
who all decided to ply their trade overseas at the expense of All
"It's always disappointing when you lose a good player, regardless of who he is," Hansen told the Stuff website.
In this case it's double disappointing because of the lack of communication.
"It wasn't as if we were able to engage in the process.
"Some agents once they get an offer they'll come to the table and
negotiate; others don't. Steven's crew didn't want to talk because they
are fearful we are going to change these guys minds which is
"He spoke briefly to the contracts team, and he's been tapped on the shoulder by Pat Lam which is disappointing too.
"If you're an ex-New Zealander you should be a bit mindful about
players' careers. But when they decide to go you've got to support them.
Steven has made that decision so we'll do that."
All Blacks captain Kieran Read echoed Hansen's sentiments and admitted that he was surprised by Luatua's decision.
"I was disappointed," he said.
"I saw him as a guy who made some great strides last year, and
someone who really could have an impact on New Zealand rugby and the All
"It's a bit sad to lose a guy like this, but it's an individual
thing. It is tempting and you can't begrudge anyone if they want to go
down that route."