19 Jun 2016

Hansen happy for Northern Hemisphere teams

6:03 pm on 19 June 2016

The resurgence of England and Ireland and continued development of an expansive Wales side is making world rugby more competitive, which can only be good for the game, says All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

England rugby team celebrates win over Australia 2016.

England rugby team celebrates win over Australia 2016. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

England completed their first series win in Australia with a 23-7 victory in Melbourne on Saturday, while Ireland, who beat South Africa in the first test, again ran the Springboks close before going down 32-26 in the second test in Johannesburg.

Warren Gatland's Wales were beaten 36-22 in their second test in Wellington but have impressed New Zealand with their intensity and willingness to throw the ball around.

"I think Wales have really contributed to this test series," Hansen told reporters. "They have played some great rugby and just haven't had the ability to finish it off.

"The more teams we have competitive, the better it is for the game and the people who are playing it and are involved in it."

Hansen, who will face a combined British and Irish Lions side next year, felt the northern hemisphere sides' improved performances on their June tours had been driven by their desire to make up for a disappointing World Cup.

None of the Six Nations teams made the semi-finals at last year's tournament, with New Zealand facing South Africa and Australia playing Argentina in the last four.

New Zealand went on to win the tournament, which saw England eliminated in the pool stage to become the first hosts to miss the quarter-finals.

That failure eventually cost coach Stuart Lancaster his job, with former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones appointed to succeed him.

England, who won the Grand Slam and Six Nations title earlier this year, beat the Wallabies 39-28 in the first test in Brisbane before sealing the series in Melbourne on Saturday.

Hansen said England had certainly improved since the World Cup, where they were beaten by Wales and Australia in Pool A.

"They were obviously incredibly hurt by what happened in the World Cup and Eddie is driving that pretty strong and getting a response," he added.

"After a World Cup there is a lot of change, the three northern hemisphere teams came out of that World Cup pretty frustrated.

"This is an opportunity for them to make a statement and (they are)."