The ability to find the positive side of a situation is apparently something ex-All Blacks coach Steve Hansen possesses.
Rather than lamenting over the situation that has caused rugby to call a halt, Hansen views it as an opportunity to make some changes to how the international side of the games is conducted.
Hansen is confident that there will eventually be a restart, which he sees as a chance to reset some facets of the game for the betterment of everyone involved.
It is going to require flexibility and creativity once it is safe to resume. Hansen backed the position of Warren Gatland, who is looking at some one-offs to replace extended tours.
This would involve a one-Test match between the New Zealand team and the British Lions ahead of a scheduled tour of South Africa by the All Blacks next year.
Hansen did not always have much in the line of success when he helmed New Zealand and it was the British and Irish Lions lining up on the other side. The one that must still stick in his craw was the loss to England in last year’s World Cup.
Still, Hansen’s optimism is commendable. “We have an opportunity now to start with a blank page because you have got everybody putting self-interest to the side,” he told Wales Online.
Hansen recently left a temporary post with Japanese team Verblitz.
Hansen spoke of a prevailing mood of change and cooperation, but that does not seem to be the case for World Rugby, where there is currently a power struggle between Bill Beaumont and his deputy Agustin Pichot for the top job.
Hansen also sounded a dire note, saying, “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.”
It might be an instance of whistling past the cemetery, as some of the smaller unions are either bankrupt, or on the verge.
Even Australia and England are not exempt from the threat of a shutdown that extends beyond any financial reserves.