Steve Hansen extends term as New Zealand All Blacks coach

By STEVE McMORRAN - AP Sports Writer 25 July 2016, 12:00AM

Steve Hansen has signed a two-year contract extension as head coach and will guide the New Zealand All Blacks to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Hansen, who coached New Zealand to victory at the 2015 World Cup and was an assistant coach of the team which won in 2011, was initially due to step down after next year's tour to New Zealand by the British and Irish Lions.

The 57-year-old former policeman coached Wales before joining the All Blacks' coaching staff in 2004. He took over from Graham Henry as head coach after the 2011 World Cup and has lost only three of 57 tests in five years.

Hansen's contract extension was unanimously approved by the New Zealand Rugby board.

"Steve's winning record is unsurpassed in the modern era," New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said. "Since becoming head coach in 2012 he has recorded 52 wins in his 57 tests to date with two draws and just three losses. That's remarkable and unparalleled in international rugby.

"While Steve has a fantastic winning record, equally positive has been his intuitive ability to continue growing the team through meticulous selection and rigorous preparation and to inspire the players to reach even greater heights."

Hansen said he was grateful to have the full support of the New Zealand Rugby board, the players and his family.

"It's not a decision that was made lightly or easily," he said. "As I've said quite often it had to be right for my family and it had to be right for the team.

"From my own point of view I had to ask a few questions and they were, simply: Did I have the energy and passion to get up and continue to drive this team the way it needs to be driven?"

Hansen said the home test series against Wales in June confirmed that he still had the enthusiasm to continue.

"The second condition I had to ask myself was whether I could continue to improve as a coach," he said. "I believe I can and I must because I'll be asking other people to improve themselves."

Hansen said he also had to consider whether or not his reappointment would be right for the team.

"The biggest non-negotiable that we have is that everything has to be right for the team first and the individual second," he said. "In discussing it with various people, both management and players, we got the feedback that they agreed and they wanted me to continue.

"Once I got over those discussions and that thought process it was a real no-brainer. It's the best job going. I love what the All Blacks are and the history that comes with them and the legacy they've created — I'm just very grateful and love being part of it."


By STEVE McMORRAN - AP Sports Writer 25 July 2016, 12:00AM

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