Steve Hansen will step down as All Blacks head coach after the 2019 World Cup.
Hansen has been in the position since 2012 and prior to that was an assistant coach for eight years.
‘After being involved in the All Blacks for 16 years, I do feel it’s right for the team for me to stand down,’ he said on Friday morning (New Zealand time). ‘I think change after the World Cup will bring a new outlook for the team and it’ll be time for someone else to enhance the legacy of the All Blacks.’
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 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. Assistant coach Ian Foster is the favourite to take over from Hansen.
‘This is a critical process which shouldn’t be rushed and shouldn’t be made in the turbulent period that tends to follow a 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.