Pat Lam hits back at Steve Hansen

Lam took exception with Hansen calling him an 'ex-New Zealander.'

BY Sinéad Farrell 10:39 Thursday 16 February 2017, 10:39 16 Feb 2017

©INPHO/James Crombie

Pat Lam has hit out at New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen for comments he made in relation to Steven Luatua transferring from Auckland Blues to Bristol.

Lam is due to become head coach of Bristol next season and Hansen accused him of influencing Luatua's decision to move to the Aviva Premiership side. Luatua says he has no regrets about leaving New Zealand to link up with Lam in Bristol.

He outlined issues with communication and said that Luatua was 'tapped on the shoulder by Pat Lam.' He also pointed out that Lam should be more 'mindful' of the forward's career with the All Blacks and labelled Lam an 'ex-New Zealander.'

Responding to Hansen's criticism, Lam seemed particularly offended by that term. In a statement released to Newstalk ZB, he said:

"I am not sure why Steve Hansen would unprecedentedly choose to single me out publically and call me an 'ex-New Zealander'. I was born in New Zealand to hard working Samoan parents, I was educated in New Zealand and worked as a schoolteacher and a professional rugby coach in New Zealand.

"I had the privilege and honor to represent both my country of birth and my country of heritage. I am a proud New Zealander and I'm also proud to be a Pacific Islander."

He went on to explain that he is proud of his heritage and says that not living in New Zealand has had no impact on his identity.

"The only reason we don't live in New Zealand at the moment is I had an opportunity to continue to coach rugby professionally in Ireland and support my family after being sacked by the NZRU and the Blues."

"Myself and I'm sure many other New Zealanders who are living and working overseas do not consider ourselves 'ex-New Zealanders' just because we are not living in New Zealand."

"When I have joined the thousands of other Northern based Kiwis who attended and cheered on the All Blacks in their test matches in the Northern Hemisphere we certainly didn't do so as 'ex-New Zealanders'."

"I believe many New Zealanders would also be offended to be labelled an 'ex-New Zealander' by the All Black coach, as he has great influence because of his position of privilege and responsibility in representing New Zealand worldwide."

"Who determines and judges who is a New Zealander and who isn't? I don't believe that has ever been the role of the All Black head coach."

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