Steve Hansen admits he is surprised England ever let Andy Farrell leave.
Ireland became the first Test nation since France in 1995 to keep New Zealand tryless. Farrell plotted another try shut-out against New Zealand in the British and Irish Lions’ 24-21 second Test win in Wellington in 2017.
England sacked Farrell and head coach Stuart Lancaster after failing to exit the group stages in the 2015 World Cup, and recently failed in a bid to bring him back into boss Eddie Jones’ current set-up.
“Coaches move around a lot so whilst I am surprised I am not surprised, if you know what I mean,” said Hansen, of England dispensing with Farrell’s services after the 2015 World Cup.
“I know they tried to get him back – obviously they recognise something we all recognise, he is good at what he does.”
Farrell is the front-runner to replace Joe Schmidt should the current Ireland boss return to his native New Zealand after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Schmidt will announce a decision on his long-term future before the end of the year, with the expectation that he will head home and start the process of bidding to become All Blacks boss.
Former dual-code international Farrell has impressed with Ireland and the Lions since his England tenure, while Lancaster led Leinster to a Champions Cup and PRO14 double last season.
New Zealand boss Hansen admitted Farrell’s defensive system stifles opponents, forcing hurried decisions.
The All Blacks boss also pointed out that New Zealand’s loss to the Lions in the second Test came after Sonny Bill Williams’ red card.
Farrell was also involved when England beat New Zealand at Twickenham in 2012, with Hansen also revisiting the sickness bug that contributed to the All Blacks’ 38-21 loss six years ago.
“They don’t give you a lot of room, they are well drilled and know what they need to do,” said Hansen.
“We got beaten in Wellington with 14 men, so I don’t know if you can put that down to the defence, we drew in Auckland in the last one and again created opportunities in the first 20 to 30 minutes of the game and should have won it by half-time. That’s another example of not taking the things that are there and you get bitten.
“In 2012 we had a team full of Norovirus so we had 29 athletes unwell so we struggled that day to get on the park, let alone compete.
“But the short answer, what’s he good at? He is good at organising his team and filling up the space on the park. And he does that really well.”