Hansen appointed new All Blacks coach

The New Zealand Rugby Union appointed Steve Hansen as the new coach of the world champion All Blacks on Friday, replacing Graham Henry who stepped down after winning the World Cup.

Hansen was widely tipped to get the prestigious role after serving as Henry’s assistant for the past eight years.

The 52-year-old former policeman did not announce who his assistants would be.

The previous coaching team was in place for eight years, but as well as Henry stepping down backs coach Wayne Smith has moved to the Super 15 side Waikato Chiefs.

Making the announcement, NZRU chairperson Mike Eagle said Hansen was the best possible candidate for the job.

“I want to congratulate him on his appointment. He is an outstanding coach and has been a key part of a hugely successful All Blacks team since becoming an assistant coach in 2004.

“He has huge respect and backing from the team and his peers and is the right man to now lead the team.”

Eagle said having a World Cup-winning coach involved in leading the team forward was a huge advantage and allowed for a seamless transition.

Hansen said he was both excited and honoured to be chosen to succeed Henry.

“I have huge pride in New Zealand rugby and Im passionate about the All Blacks and New Zealand,” he said.

“I feel humbled and proud to be given the opportunity to lead the team into its next phase. My aim will be to leave the team in a better shape than how I found it and to enhance its legacy.”

Hansen has been appointed for a two-year term and was the only candidate recommended by an appointment panel to go through to an interview with the full NZRU Board.

His preferred coaching team has also been unanimously approved by the NZRU and will be announced once employment details are settled. — AFP

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