All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has signed a new contract until the end of the 2017 season, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed on Tuesday.
The extension will see Hansen coach beyond the World Cup into the 2017 season when the British and Irish Lions tour New Zealand. Traditionally, New Zealand Rugby has waited until after the World Cup to review the All Blacks coaching role, but given Hansen's unbridled success in the role, they were quick to secure his services for an extra two seasons.
'We think this is fantastic news for the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby and Steve is the right man for the job, having won the World Rugby and Coach of the Year awards for the past three years and 38 of his 42 Test matches in charge,' said NZR chief executive Steve Tew following the announcement on Tuesday.
'On behalf of all New Zealand rugby, I would like to congratulate him on his reappointment. Steve is the first All Blacks coach to be given a contract extension beyond a Rugby World Cup which demonstrates just how much faith the board and our wider organisation, together with the All Blacks players and management, have in him.
'He has huge experience and under his guidance the All Blacks have reached remarkable heights. To have him re-sign as head coach through to 2017 gives the All Blacks the continuity they will need as they make the transition into 2016 and beyond, following next year's Rugby World Cup.'
Hansen was part of the coaching group that survived the 2007 World Cup quarter-final disaster to lift the title in 2011 under the guidance of Graham Henry. He said he felt a responsibility not to leave in 2016 when the All Blacks would lose a chunk of its playing group to overseas contracts, or retirement.
'I am honoured by the faith and confidence the Board has shown in me by offering an extension to my contract,' said Hansen.
'It's a privilege to be part of the All Blacks and not something you could ever take for granted. After getting the support of my family and various team personnel to continue, I asked myself if I still had the hunger and desire to continue in the role, which I do, so the decision to continue became a no-brainer, because there is no better job in world rugby.
'Whilst I am well aware that there is a lot of work to do, I am really looking forward to the future, starting with 2015 and the opportunity and challenge that awaits us at the Rugby World Cup. 2016 will bring its own challenges with a number of senior players likely to be moving on and then 2017, when the British and Irish Lions tour, which will be massive.'
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