Australian Rugby Union CEO John O'Neill has dismissed as "insulting and ill-informed" claims by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen that Australia is stealing New Zealand players.
Hansen made the assertion after New Zealand's 18-18 draw with the Wallabies in a Bledisloe Cup Test on Saturday in which New Zealand-born centre Mike Harris kicked five penalties for Australia.
The All Blacks coach said Australia should concentrate on developing its own talent, rather than trying to build depth by "pinching" New Zealand players.
'I am pleased [Harris] has achieved his dream ... what I find frustrating is that Australia is trying to build their game and put more franchises in place but all they are doing is putting franchises in place and stealing our players,'' he said.
O'Neill said that New Zealand should put its own house in order before criticising Australia.
"The comments from the All Blacks coach are insulting, ill-informed, and clearly made without reviewing New Zealand's history for fielding players born outside their borders.
"I would not even want to guess how many players born in the South Pacific islands have worn the All Blacks jersey ... The reality is there are players who will look for opportunities to play Test rugby," he said.
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