All Blacks coach frustrated at Kahui move
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen expressed disappointment on Tuesday at Richard Kahui’s decision to play in Japan next year, saying he was frustrated the centre never gave him a chance to change his mind.
Kahui announced last week that he would move to Top League club Toshiba Brave Lupus next year after seeing out the Super 15 season with the Waikato Chiefs.
“We were very disappointed with that because he didn’t really speak to us, or his agent didn’t,” Hansen told commercial radio. “I always find that a bit frustrating.”
Hansen said he would have appreciated an opportunity to put a counter-offer to Kahui, who was a key member of New Zealand’s World Cup-winning team in 2011 and helped the Waikato Chiefs to the Super 15 title last year.
Kahui said last week that he decided to play in Japan to secure his future after a string of shoulder injuries, which has restricted him to just 17 Tests since his international debut in 2008.
The 27-year-old will not be eligible to play for the All Blacks while in Japan but has canvassed the possibility of returning to his homeland in 2015 so he can help New Zealand defend its World Cup title in England.
Hansen said Kahui was taking a gamble as there was no guarantee an up-and-coming centre would not cement a spot in his absence.
“He’s talked about coming back, but he, like everybody else, takes a big risk when they leave because there’s other people here who have got talent,” he said.
“But he’s weighed that up and believes he can come back. Hopefully he does and hopefully he comes back and plays to the level that can get him selected.”