Lam hits back at Hansen over 'ex-New Zealander' jibe

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Connacht head coach Pat Lam has taken exception to Steve Hansen referring to him as an "ex-New Zealander" in a row over the future of the All Blacks' Steven Luatua.

New Zealand boss Hansen was upset by Luatua's decision to join Bristol for the 2017-18 season - where Lam will take over as coach after finishing his spell with Connacht.

Hansen was not impressed with Lam's role in Luatua's move.

"He [Luatua] spoke briefly to the contracts team and he's been tapped on the shoulder by Pat Lam which is disappointing too," Hansen told Fairfax Media.

"If you're an ex-New Zealander you should be a bit mindful about players' careers."

Lam, who was born in Auckland and played one Test for the All Blacks before representing Samoa at three World Cups, was bemused by Hansen's criticism.

"I am not sure why Steve Hansen would unprecedentedly choose to single me out publicly and call me an 'ex-New Zealander'," he said.

"I am a proud New Zealander and I'm also proud to be a Pacific Islander.

"The only reason we don't live in New Zealand at the moment is I had an opportunity to continue to coach rugby professionally in Ireland and support my family after being sacked by the NZRU and the Blues.

"Did Steve Hansen consider himself an ex-New Zealander when he chose to leave New Zealand and coach the Wales national team against the All Blacks?

"Myself and I'm sure many other New Zealanders who are living and working overseas do not consider ourselves ex-New Zealanders just because we are not living in New Zealand.

"When I have joined the thousands of other northern-based Kiwis who attended and cheered on the All Blacks in their test matches in the northern hemisphere we certainly didn't do so as ex-New Zealanders."