Will Steve Hansen stay on as All Black coach?

Sat, 25 Nov 2017 07:38
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew has confirmed that the All Black head coaching job will be discussed at their December board meeting.

He also hinted in an interview with Stuff that if incumbent Steve Hansen wishes to stay on past the 2019 Rugby World Cup, ‘he’ll be a strong contender.’

Hansen has not yet confirmed his plans after the Japan tournament, where the All Blacks will look to defend the title won in 1987, 2011 and 2015. However the prevailing thought is that if he were to step aside, assistant coach Ian Foster would be the frontrunner for the role.

Foster has now had five seasons in the All Black set up and it’s widely thought that a transitional process has already begun for him to take over. That hasn’t stopped rumours of the likes of Joe Schmidt, Vern Cotter, Dave Rennie and Warren Gatland making a challenge for the head coaching role when the World Cup is over, though.

“But we will have a clearly outlined process. The reality is you finish a Rugby World Cup in October and the next All Blacks game is not till June. There’s a reasonable amount of time, and the issue will be how that fits into the decision-making time-table of anyone else who wants to be All Blacks coach.”

Tew said there was a long list of standout contenders coaching both abroad and in New Zealand, and admitted a policy tweak was likely to allow offshore-based people to be considered.

“We’re going to talk about that. We need to make sure the best coaches possible are available to be appointed to that role. I think keeping Ian Foster in our midst has been very good if you are talking about obvious succession planning. He is one option who doesn’t have a head start or a disadvantage in any way, but he is clearly making a statement because he’s been a very important part of an incredibly successful era.

Tew kept his cards close to his chest when pressed on the issue, but also hinted that any of those names could feature in some sort of capacity.

“We’re going to talk about that. We need to make sure the best coaches possible are available to be appointed to that role. I think keeping Ian Foster in our midst has been very good if you are talking about obvious succession planning. He is one option who doesn’t have a head start or a disadvantage in any way, but he is clearly making a statement because he’s been a very important part of an incredibly successful era.

“We have a number of very good coaches around the world and a number doing other jobs in New Zealand and we will need more than one coach.”

By Mike Hunter, RugbyPass