New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen to step down after World Cup

Tanya Simon
December 16, 2018

Asked if Hansen could now instead take up a more senior role, he explained: "Whenever you lose someone who's been around for a long time, there's a desire to (a) protect what they know and make sure it doesn't go somewhere else and (b) to make sure that we transition".

"All of the New Zealand players nominated for these awards have represented us proudly on the world stage with outstanding individual efforts and these World Rugby nominations confirm that many others outside New Zealand think the same".

The 59-year-old Hansen has been involved with the team since 2004, first as an assistant to Graham Henry and then as head coach from 2012, and fashioned an unrivalled record in the professional era, having won 85 of his 96 games in charge.

He was adamant that this time, the decision to retire was final, and said he was going to spend more time with his family.

"I just think that after 16 years it is the right time to move on after the World Cup". "As only people who have done the job will understand, there are not only heavy demands on yourself, but also on your family", he said.

"I've still got the support of the rugby union and..."

New Zealand Rugby have also recognised his talent and reportedly offered him a job as All Blacks' assistant coach a year ago but were turned down.

Hansen said he had not thought about his future beyond the next 12 months.

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Hansen told a packed news conference in Auckland that he had chose to make the announcement now to avoid their World Cup build-up being disrupted by questions about his future.

His own plans are unclear but he gave no sign he expects to take up a Director of Rugby role, unprecedented in New Zealand rugby, in which he would look over the shoulder of his successor.

"He's hugely respected, clear in his views, and will leave the job as one of the greatest ever All Blacks coaches".

His departure will start a scramble for his position, with Foster and Ireland's Kiwi-born coach Joe Schmidt considered the frontrunners to replace him.

Steve Hansen's record is unmatched by any All Blacks coach in the professional era. New Zealand media have highlighted the fact Foster was head coach of the Chiefs in Super Rugby for nearly eight years without winning the title.

Hansen's trusted assistant Foster should also be in the running to step up.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen at Thursday's press conference.

A number of overseas-based contenders will be in the mix for 2020, including Warren Gatland, Vern Cotter and Dave Rennie.

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