All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen has announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
In announcing his decision, Hansen said while he still had the desire, energy and commitment to continue in the role – as well as the support of the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby – he felt that the end of the 2019 season was the right time to stand down so he could spend more time with his family.
Hansen has been Head Coach of the All Blacks since 2012 and prior to that was an Assistant Coach for eight years.
“After being involved in the All Blacks for 16 years, I do feel it’s right for the team for me to stand down. I think change after the Rugby World Cup will bring a new outlook for the team and it’ll be time for someone else to enhance the legacy of the All Blacks.”
Hansen said there had been no pressure from his family to step aside.
“As only people who have done the job will understand, there are not only heavy demands on yourself, but also on your family. My family has given me unreserved love and support over the last 16 years and I feel it’s now time to make them the sole focus.”
“It’s been a huge privilege to be part of the All Blacks for such a long time and I’m really looking forward to, and excited by the challenges, of the next 12 months. We’ll be attempting to do something that has never been done before – to win three consecutive Rugby World Cups. I’m highly motivated by that, as is the whole group, and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Hansen said he wanted to make the announcement about his future now so that New Zealand Rugby had plenty of time to identify a successor.
“This is a critical process which shouldn’t be rushed and shouldn’t be made in the turbulent period that tends to follow a Rugby World Cup campaign.”
Hansen said he hadn’t made any decision on his future at this stage and his focus was on preparing for the 2019 season.
All Blacks Chairman Brent Impey has lead the tributes to Hansen.
“On behalf of the New Zealand Rugby Board, I’d like to thank Steve for his enormous contribution to our national game. He’s hugely respected, clear in his views, and will leave the job as one of the greatest ever All Blacks coaches.
“His record is unsurpassed. The All Blacks currently hold all the major trophies we play for, he played a critical role in the back-to-back-Rugby World Cup victories in 2011 and 2015, and we wish him and the team all the very best for next year’s campaign.
“Whatever happens next in Steve’s career, his place as a New Zealand rugby legend is guaranteed,” Impey said.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said Hansen had overseen “one of the richest periods in All Blacks history.”
“On his watch the All Blacks have had a winning rate of close to 90 percent – a remarkable run of sustained success.
“As well as his success on the field, he will also be remembered for his bold selections and the way he and his management team provided the opportunity and environment for the players to achieve their full potential on the international stage.
“He cares deeply about the game and the wider issues facing it and his views are hugely respected not only in New Zealand but internationally.
“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, we congratulate Steve, his wife Tash and his family on his contribution to New Zealand Rugby – and the contribution he’ll continue to make in 2019 – and we all look forward to what next year will bring.”
Mini bio – All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen
The World Rugby Coach of the Year from 2012-14 and 2016 and New Zealand Coach of the Year from 2012-2016, 59-year-old Steve Hansen has lead the All Blacks through an extraordinary run of success, including back-to-back victory at RWC 2015. Since becoming the Head Coach in 2012, the All Blacks have played 96 Tests, won 85, lost eight and drawn three, for an 88.5 percent winning ratio, and been named World Team of the Year from 2012-2016.
As well as the RWC2015 victory, continued success during the Hansen era has also included winning every Steinlager Series from 2012-2018, winning the Investec Rugby Championship every year except 2015 (including a ‘Southern Grand Slam’ of wins in 2013 and 2016), and unbeaten tours to the Northern Hemisphere in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Hansen also coached the team to the historic first ‘perfect season’ by a Tier One team in 2013 when the All Blacks went unbeaten in all 14 Tests they played.
In 2012 Hansen was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM), for services to rugby.
Hansen first joined the All Blacks coaching staff in 2004, working alongside Sir Graham Henry and Wayne Smith, winning the Rugby World Cup in 2011. His coaching career began in Canterbury, highlighted by NPC First Division titles in 1997 and 2001. He served as assistant coach of the Crusaders during title-winning seasons in 1999 and 2000, and coached New Zealand A on their tour to Europe in 2000. Before joining the All Blacks, he coached Wales in 29 Tests from 2002 to 2004, which included taking Wales to the RWC 2003 quarter-finals.