Rugby: Steve Hansen backs one-off All Blacks v British & Irish Lions test in 2021

Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has backed Warren Gatland's idea to stage a 'decider' between the British & Irish Lions and New Zealand in 2021.

In 2017, Gatland steered the Lions to a drawn series against Hansen's All Blacks and will lead the team on a tour of South Africa next year.

Earlier this month, the current Chiefs coach told Sky Sports' The Breakdown that discussions with NZ Rugby (NZR) chief executive Mark Robinson were underway and revealed the potential financial benefit for both parties.

And Hansen agrees. 

"Well, it won't be a decider, because it won't be the same people involved," Hansen told Wales Online. "But what he's really saying is 'let's have this game to try and help make some money for the game because the game is in trouble'." 

"You have got one rugby nation - the United States - who have gone bankrupt, we've got Australia on the brink, we know England have got a financial crisis... everybody will have, because you are not getting paid the TV rights and those are what makes the game go round.

"The game is in financial crisis. People are struggling, so I think anything that allows us to create some income to support the game is important."

A southern hemisphere Barbarians side has also been mooted, as well as the Māori All Blacks, but with NZR forecasting a $25 million loss this year, a chance to eat into that for a one-off test could be enticing. 

Hansen admits he wasn't at his best during the Lions series and could've done better.

"I don't think I coached as well as I could have that year. I was pretty disappointed in myself and some of the coaching decisions I made.

"I also know it could have gone drastically a different way. There was that red card in the second test and we led well deep into that game.

"Then to lose it on a penalty, where a guy tackles a guy jumping to catch the ball from a poor pass, when everyone knows that wasn’t intentional of that rule, that's frustrating."

Hansen left his post as All Blacks coach after last year's Rugby World Cup and is currently director of rugby at Toyota Verblitz in Japan's Top League.

All rugby around the world is currently suspended, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Hansen feels this is a great chance to make sweeping changes for the good of the game.

"We have an opportunity now to start with a blank page, because you have got everybody putting self-interest to the side," said Hansen. "They know they could be gone if they don't do the right thing.

"It's a great opportunity to bring everybody together - north, south, individual countries - and do what it is right for the game. It's been a long time coming, because it's been needed for quite some time.

"There has been a lot of self-interest and if we don't do the right thing, we could lose the game and that would be a tragedy."