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Thread: Steve Hansen makes his big decision: 'This is what is right for the All Blacks'

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Steve Hansen makes his big decision: 'This is what is right for the All Blacks'

    Dec 14 2018

    It was with a heavy heart but a clear conscience that Steve Hansen uttered the words his nation probably didn't want to hear at a much-anticipated announcement in Auckland on Friday morning.

    "We're here to establish whether I'm staying or going," the most successful All Blacks coach of the professional era declared with typical abruptness to a bevy of media in the bowels of their inner-city inn of choice.

    "I'm going."

    Then began a half-hour of reflection, explanation and introspection from the man who, by the end of the World Cup in 2019, would have spent 16 years as either an assistant or head coach with the world's most respected, lauded and pursued rugby team. He hopes, too, to have masterminded an unprecedented hat-trick of global titles to crown an era of historic dimensions.

    It was not your usual Hansen press conference as the All Blacks coach unveiled his intentions post-2019 for the express purpose of putting the issue to bed so it would not be a distraction next year when it matters most. There was not the banter and humour that we have come to expect from this fellow who has grown in his acceptance of the media's role as a conduit to his people.

    This was a more sombre, more reflective Hansen, befitting the nature of events. Thought it won't become reality for nearly a year, this is the end of an era and even the 'Big Bear's' delightfully dry humour was largely put on the back-burner while he did his best to wrestle through the minefield of questions we all had about the ramifications of what he had decided.

    There were moments of levity, mostly in the back and forth with his close friend, and boss, Steve Tew sitting alongside, but for the most part this was Hansen in straight-bat serious mode. Clearly this had been a big decision for him, and equally clearly it had exacted an emotional toll.

    He's not the type to shed a tear at such an occasion, but you suspected those feelings were prevalent as he reflected on a decision that, above all, was made in the best interests of All Blacks rugby. He has always seen himself as a temporary guardian of a legacy forged by hundreds of men over many, many years.

    Hansen talked about the importance of getting the timing right for a decision like this and then listed his reasons for not extending his involvement beyond what will be his fifth World Cup campaign, and fourth with the men in black.

    "Whilst I know I've still got the support of the Rugby Union and the backing of the players, we've always said it's about the team first and it's right for the team to have someone new after this World Cup. Some fresh eyes, fresh thinking … whether that's within or outside, whoever the replacement is it will be fresh.

    "That will be great for the enhancement of the legacy of the jersey and that's the most important thing."

    His family was also a big part of a decision that he made somewhere round the middle of the year within a small inner-circle. "Tash, my wife, has run the house and it's time to spend some more time with her. [We've] talked about it a lot, I talked to Tewey a bit about it. It doesn't weigh heavy on you because you know it's the right thing to do."

    He said ultimately it had been an easy decision "because it allows us to get on and do what we have to do. I'd like to coach this team for the rest of my living days but it's not the right thing to do. I wouldn't say it was a close call, just the right call".

    Of course we wanted to know what next. Hansen anticipated that.

    "I can't tell you, so don't bother asking," he declared. "I'm not focusing on what's next, I'm focusing on making sure we get to next year and retain that Bledisloe Cup and then try do something that hasn't been done before, and that's win three of these World Cups in a row. I'm highly motivated by that."

    Why not continue with that incredible 89 percent winning record?

    "That's a question people are entitled to ask but they don't live in your shoes and they don't live in the team's shoes. My responsibility is the team and my family, and it's my job to make the right decisions for the team, myself and my family."

    So how much toll does this job exact?

    "I wouldn't say I've had enough of the constant pressure. I enjoy that stuff. You walk out into a stadium of 60-70,000 people and you don't know if you're going to win or lose. That gets the adrenalin running.

    "But you're also part of the property of New Zealand. You go out for dinner and people say I hope you don't mind but can I have a photo? You don't mind, but you're with your family and it's taking away from them. At some point, for your family's sake, you've got to become just a normal person again."

    He was asked about how he had changed and adapted in his time in the role.

    "We all know I've got a little bit better with you people," he shot back. Added Tew, wryly: "It was a low base." Continued Hansen: "Yeah, it was a poor start. In life if you're flexible in your thinking and open-minded in how you see things you become better at all the things you do. I know I'm a totally different man than I was when I started coaching."

    One smart enough to know when it's the right time to walk away.

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    Champion andrewM's Avatar
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    Huh..a national coach who knows when it's time to move on ?
    Who would have thought?

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    Ireland coach Joe Schmidt turned down an offer to work under his New Zealand counterpart Steve Hansen last year.

    Chief executive of NZ Rugby Steve Tew told the New Zealand Herald they approached Schmidt about an assistant coaching position last year.

    The 53-year-old announced last month he will step down after Ireland's 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign.

    The New Zealander has been in charge of Ireland since 2013 and has masterminded two victories against his homeland.

    Schmidt's lasting legacy on Irish rugby
    I thought Schmidt was too nice to be coach - Sexton
    New Zealand Rugby asked Schmidt to replace retiring assistant coach Wayne Smith as part of the All Blacks' backroom team, with a view to potentially succeeding Hansen when he decides to step down.

    Former Wales head coach Hansen is expected to make an announcement about his future this week, with long-serving assistant coach Ian Foster being tipped as his possible replacement.

    Schmidt won the 2018 World Rugby coach of the year award for steering Ireland to only their third Grand Slam success while the Six Nations champions were also named the team of the year after moving up to second in the world rankings and losing just one game in 2018.

    Since taking charge of Ireland in 2013, the former Leinster head coach has also led the side to Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015 as well as the country's first win over New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 and their first victory over the All Blacks on home soil in November.

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    Champion SPaRTAN's Avatar
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    What an honourable man. Walk away and do what's best for the most successful team of the decade that he is coaching. Many people will debate whether a man with an 89% win record over 7 years actually is doing the right thing by handing over the reins but many will probably think the reason is because he has exhausted his coaching techniques and believes the team may go stale without some innovation and fresh blood.

    Good luck Hansen, his press conferences were always held with respect and dignity and he did really well to not get drawn in to Cheikas dummy spats a few years ago..

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  5. #5
    Veteran chibi's Avatar
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    Next headline, "Eddie Jones sacked, Steve Hansen to Coach England"

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chibi View Post
    Next headline, "Eddie Jones sacked, Steve Hansen to Coach England"
    That might be good news for Australia. What is eddies relationship with Sydney uni

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    C'mon the

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