All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has extended his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union to include the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Hansen was contracted until the end of the 2017 rugby season but has now extended for a further two years.
In making the announcement, NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew said it had been easy for the Board to make a unanimous decision to extend Hansen’s current contract from 2017 through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
He said Hansen and his fellow coaching and management team had overseen an unbelievably successful period of All Blacks rugby.
“Steve’s winning record is unsurpassed in the modern era. Since becoming Head Coach in 2012, he has recorded 52 wins in his 57 Tests to date, with two draws and just three losses. That’s remarkable and unparalleled in international rugby.
“While Steve has a fantastic winning record, equally positive has been his intuitive ability to continue growing the team through meticulous selection and rigorous preparation, and to inspire the players to reach even greater heights.
“He’s also lead an era where the team have been outstanding ambassadors for fans both here and around the world. Rugby World Cup 2015 was a great example of a team that wanted to be successful both on and off the field and they recognised that they could achieve a lot by doing so.”
Steve Tew added: “I think it’s important at this time to also acknowledge Steve’s long-term commitment to New Zealand Rugby. Apart from his stint with Wales in 2002-2004, he has spent his entire time coaching in New Zealand, stretching back to 1996 with Canterbury and the advent of professionalism.
“He continues to be a great servant and key figure not only in New Zealand but also internationally, and on behalf of New Zealand Rugby and the Board, including the All Blacks players and management, as well as the wider rugby community, I’d like to congratulate Steve on his reappointment.”
Steve Hansen said he was very honoured and grateful to the New Zealand Rugby Board and Steve Tew to be given the opportunity to extend his contract.
“It was never going to be an easy decision nor a foregone conclusion that I would extend my contract. As I’ve said many times before, it had to be right for my family, for myself and for the team.
“In speaking to my family, they’ve all given me their wholehearted support and I’m very thankful for that, because you just couldn’t do this job without that.
“In asking the important questions of myself, I had to be confident, firstly, in my own mind that I still had the passion, drive and commitment to keep pushing this team to improve and be better. The recent Steinlager Series against the Welsh confirmed to me that I still had that internal motivation.
“The second question I had asked myself was: could I improve as a coach? And I believe I can, and must, as I will be asking others to do the same.
“With regards to the team, I spoke to a number of players and management to get their thoughts on what would be right for the team going forward and I received unanimous feedback from them that it was right for me to continue.
“Once I had confirmed all three of those considerations, it really was a ‘no brainer’ to continue, because, as a coach, there is no better job in rugby than coaching your own national team, particularly one that is as successful as this All Blacks team has been.”
Hansen also said he was thrilled to be leading the All Blacks through until Rugby World Cup 2019.
“Having the opportunity to be part of a team that will be trying to win three consecutive Rugby World Cups is both an invigorating and exciting challenge and one I’m very much looking forward to being part of.
“However, whilst the continuation of my contract will put a focus on the World Cup, it’s the immediate future that we need to focus on and we’re all looking forward to getting back together for the Investec Rugby Championship and re-establishing the team, following the Steinlager Series.
“Once again, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the All Blacks team and looking forward to the next four years.”