Former Wales coach, Steven Hansen, has been handed the top job at 2011 World Cup-winning side, the All Blacks. The 52-year-old will be a familiar face to fans of New Zealand; Hansen was assistant coach under Graham Henry, who resigned his commission on November 1, as one of the most successful managers in the All Blacks’ history.
Speaking at a press conference in the wake of his exit, Henry, who coached the Kiwi side to 88 victories in 103 encounters, said that he is “exceptionally proud of how the team has added to the All Blacks legacy”. The 65-year-old is likely to remain on New Zealand’s books, albeit in the capacity of a mentor for coaches. Those following the online free bets should remember this.
Hansen, who fought off competition from Vern Cotter, coach at French outfit, Clermont Auvergne, to land the role at the All Blacks, has a rather tumultuous relationship with international coaching, helping Henry command the Kiwi war machine, earlier this year, but driving Wales into the ground, in the early 2000s.
The Dunedin-born coach oversaw a catastrophic Six Nations for the Welsh, back in 2003, in which he racked up a win-loss tally of 0-5. The result marked Wales’ worst performance in the Six Nations in history. Only a decent performance in the World Cup of the same year redeemed Hansen in Welsh eyes.
Hansen plans to hire an assistant coach, though it is unknown when he will be making the trip to the job centre to find one. The internet is alive with speculation as to the identity of Hansen’s second in command, with Mick Byrne, who is already working for the All Blacks, as kicking coach, a firm favourite.
Despite having a two-year contract with New Zealand, Hansen could retain the role until 2015, a date that coincides with the start of the next World Cup.