All Blacks pick Hansen as coach
NINE years after replacing Graham Henry as head coach at Wales Steve Hansen has stepped into Henry's shoes once again, this time taking on arguably the most important job in New Zealand - All Black coach.
Hansen was announced as the new coach of the Rugby World Cup champions today after eight years in an assistant role under Henry.
The 52-year-old has signed a two-year deal which will take him through to the end of the 2013 season.
His coaching staff will be named at a later point. Hansen said at a press conference today that just one assistant coach will be named.
"I'm confident and extremely happy with the people that I've chosen and I think they can do a job for New Zealand," he said.
Hansen said he had gone through an extensive interview process to convince the NZRU of his credentials.
"This is a great sporting team. One of the greatest in world sport and you wouldn't expect it to be an easy process."
Hansen said he would have one assistant coach and a number of other people in specialist roles.
He was looking forward to the challenge of following up the Rugby World Cup win on October 23.
"That makes the challenge even more exciting. As Ali said in about the seventh round of rope-a-dope: 'It's not a time to get tired George'."
Hansen, who had the backing of the outgoing Henry, coached Wales in 2002 and 2003 before joining the All Blacks in 2004.
He previously won three NPC titles with Canterbury between 1997 and 2001 and served as Crusaders assistant when they won the Super Rugby title in 1999 and 2000.
The decision by the NZRU Board to appoint Hansen was unanimous.
In making the announcement, NZRU Chairman Mike Eagle said Hansen was the best possible candidate for the job of All Blacks Coach.
"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."