No-Go for Hansen as Crusaders coach


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All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen had his application to take over Super 14 champions the Crusaders rejected by the New Zealand Rugby Union on Sunday.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said they did not believe Hansen could do justice to the Crusaders and the All Blacks simultaneously.

“Both roles required a dedicated focus and out of respect for Steve and, in particular, what he contributes to the All Blacks environment, it was felt that he needed to be focused on one rather than two teams,” Tew said.

“The decision also reflected the board’s regard for Steve not only as an All Blacks assistant coach but also as a team selector, an asset that would have been lost to the All Blacks in the dual coaching proposal.”

Hansen, the All Blacks fowards coach, said in a statement he was disappointed but understood and accepted the board’s decision.

His withdrawal has left four candidates on a shortlist to replace Robbie Deans as the Crusaders coach.

Deans signed on as the new Australian coach after missing out to Graham Henry who was reappointed as the All Blacks head coach despite the side’s shock quarter-final loss in the World Cup.

Deans this year took the Crusaders to a record seventh Super rugby title and said before leaving for Australia that he believed his assisant and former All Blacks hooker Mark Hammett, known as “Hammer”, should replace him.

“Hammer’s good to go, I believe,” Deans said.

“The key to an organisation like this is the foundation. Whoever comes in has to understand the foundation. Obviously he’s been a foundation member from day one.”

Deans also favoured former All Blacks and Crusaders captain Todd Blackadder as the assistant coach.

“It needs to be someone that understands the past and is prepared to be courageous and prepared to build towards the future,” Deans said.

“(It’s) one man’s opinion but I believe we’ve got what we need within.”

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said he was disappointed Hansen had been ruled out of consideration but “we still have a very high quality group of coaches in the mix for the role.”

The new Crusaders coach is expected to be appointed next month.

Sapa-AFP –

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