Under siege Cheika receives support from unexpected ally
STEVE Hansen says losing to his team of All Blacks world-beaters shouldn't be any reason to sack a rugby coach.
Hansen empathised with Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika, whose job security is reportedly shaky after two heavy Bledisloe Cup defeats.
Cheika has won half of his 50 Tests in charge but only one of the past seven, with media speculation mounting that patience is running out among Rugby Australia (RA) officialdom.
The Australia coach batted away related questions in testy fashion after Saturday's 40-12 loss at Eden Park and insisted he knows nothing about a reported RA ultimatum to win soon or face a review.
Hansen said Australian officials need to factor in the heights his All Blacks are hitting.
Winners of the past two World Cups, New Zealand are arguably in the finest era of any team - having lost just nine of their past 119 Tests.
"It's a pretty special team down in that changing room," Hansen said of his All Blacks.
"When the time comes in few years, we'll look back at a special group.
"I don't think you should put a coach under pressure just from losing to us."
Hansen joined Cheika in pondering if the mounting job speculation was purely media driven.
He said social media pontificating has also increased pressure on professional coaches in all sport like never before.
"The key thing is that he doesn't lose his own convictions and the team don't lose sight of what they're trying to do," Hansen said.
"Listening to them talk, it sounds like they've got plenty of belief in who they are and what they're trying to do."
Wallabies great George Gregan told Fox Sports the anti-Cheika sentiment was an "emotional response".
Gregan said it would make no sense to change coaches a year out from the World Cup and there were few obvious contenders anyway.
Hansen has engaged in verbal jousting with Cheika for four years but sent him some praise on Saturday.
"Personally I think there's a lot of stuff he does that's good," he said.
"And like all of us, probably there's some other stuff they'd like to do better."