Rugby World Cup: Dane Coles buries hatchet with Sir Steve Hansen after ex-All Blacks coach's Wallabies dalliance

Hooker Dane Coles said he had buried the hatchet with Sir Steve Hansen, after criticising the former All Blacks coach for helping out Australia with their World Cup preparations.

Coles was "gobsmacked" when told Sir Steve - whose nickname is 'Shag' - had been advising fierce rivals the Wallabies, where the two-time World Cup winner was assisting good friend and Australia head coach Eddie Jones.

"Shag, what are you up to?," a stunned Coles said.

"That hurts a little bit, to be fair. I'm just gobsmacked. I know he's quite tight with Eddie, they're really good mates, but he's a bit of an icon in the All Blacks set-up."

On Wednesday, Hansen took his turn to join the All Blacks camp in Lyon before their second Pool A match against Namibia on Saturday (NZ time). He's expected to spend the next two weeks with his former team.

Dane Coles addressing media on Wednesday.
Dane Coles addressing media on Wednesday. Photo credit: Getty Images

The veteran hooker was one of Hansen's first port of calls at All Blacks training, where he quickly made light of Coles' "gobsmacked" public reaction to news he'd be working with their trans-Tasman foes.

"He gave me a bit of stick yesterday for causing a bit of a scene, but it's good," Coles said with a grin.

"He got up and had a bit of a yarn… those little bit of hard feelings have been put to bed. He cracked a joke in classic Steve fashion. 

"It was cool to have him around, it was like he never left."

Hansen offered Coles an explanation of his role with the Wallabies, which allowed the Hurricanes front-rower some much needed perspective on the nature of his role with the Wallabies, which was primarily as a consultant to the coaches.

"He gave me a big hug and I won't say what he said to me, but it was all in good humour.

"He's got a lot of respect in this environment, he was just helping out a mate once we got a bit of context to it.

"It was all good. He's still as sharp as ever."

Hansen was with the All Blacks in an unofficial capacity, exchanging plenty of "smiles and banter" with players as he observed training and providing feedback to head coach Ian Foster, who was his assistant for the team's last two World Cup campaigns.

"They've got a great friendship, and he's been around connecting with players and giving a bit of wisdom and putting his two cents in," said Coles.

"Not a really formal role but just getting around and connecting with the players… observing stuff and I'm sure it'll be fed back into Foster.

"The players have definitely appreciated him… like I said, he's pretty sharp and he gives us a bit of shit, which is good."

Coles said Hansen's presence had provided a boost to the team after their defeat to France in the tournament opener.

Steve Hansen and Ian Foster.
Steve Hansen and Ian Foster. Photo credit: Getty Images

"He's got a lot of good deep connections with players he's coached before and I think you've seen that when the players saw him at training.

"He's been getting around a few players and giving them a bit of advice.

"It's definitely lifted spirits up and I suppose he's determined to help that process and how we're feeling over the last two days after the loss to France."

Comparing his visits to the respective camps over the past month, Hansen offers a metaphor that reflects the difference between the two, while dismissing any concern over the All Blacks' prospect.

"When I went and visited Australia that's like seeing your cousins but this is like seeing your real family," Hansen told NZR+.

"I think [the All Blacks] are in good shape. I know a lot of people have read into the fact they didn't beat Sout Africa and loss to France, but the reality is they've got to make the quarter-finals… nothing has changed has it."