Steve Hansen began his press conference simply.
The All Blacks head coach confirmed this morning 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.
“I just think that after 16 years it is the right time to move on after the World Cup. It is the right thing for the team. We can have a fresh pair of eyes come into the team,” Hansen said.
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.”
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