'It has been a privilege': Tearful Hansen signs off from All Blacks

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen acknowledges the crowd after receiving a bronze medal at the...
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen acknowledges the crowd after receiving a bronze medal at the end of the match against Wales. Photo: Reuters
Choking back tears in the middle of Tokyo Stadium after his New Zealand side had clinched third place at the Rugby World Cup, retiring coach Steve Hansen could only utter five words.

"It has been a privilege," he said of his 16-year association with the All Blacks as he acknowledged the cheers and clapping of the crowd after his side's 40-17 victory over Wales.

With tears welling in his eyes, the 60-year-old mustered a croaky "thank you", before composing himself for his post-match news conference where he thanked his former captain Richie McCaw, current skipper Kieran Read as well as the team's coaching staff and management.

"You don't do what we've done over the years just with one person," he said.

Hansen, who is now expected to join Japanese club Toyota, will go down as one of the All Blacks' best coaches and leaves a legacy of success.

He won 86% of his matches in charge and was named World Coach of the Year four times.

Out of the All Blacks' coaches who have been in charge for more than 10 matches, only three have success rates over 85%: Fred Allen, Alex Wyllie and Hansen's predecessor Graham Henry.

He was involved in two successful World Cup campaigns, won 11 of 16 Tri-Nations or Rugby Championship titles and retained the Bledisloe Cup in each of the 16 years he was with the team.

A former police officer, Hansen's greatest attribute was his eye for talent, making some left-field selections that at times forced the public to scratch their heads.

In his first year in charge he introduced Aaron Smith, Dane Coles, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Beauden Barrett, while he revived Ben Smith's stalled test career.

Retallick and Barrett have both been named the World Player of the Year, while Coles is considered to have changed the role of the modern hooker.

All were present at Tokyo Stadium on Friday.

He was fiercely protective of his players, engendering a loyalty that kept him in the job two years longer than intended.

Having initially decided to leave at the end of 2017, the side's senior players asked him to stay on until the World Cup.

Hansen's drive for continued improvement meant that his sides continually lifted the bar and challenged the rest of the world to keep up, a task which their rivals seem to have accepted.

"For a long time we can take a lot of pride in what we've done because we've asked teams to get better because they want to beat us," he said.

"England have done that, South Africa have done it on occasions and both of those teams are in the final...

"We are chasing them and I know, with my time finishing, the All Blacks will continue to strive to be better."

Add a Comment

640x20.png

Advertising Feature

1_mega-carousel_header_091219.jpg

1_mega-carousel_footer_091219.jpg

 

xmas_guide_640x95.jpg

christmas-2019-300px-her.jpgchristmas-2019-300px-him.jpgchristmas-2019-300px-family.jpgchristmas-2019-300px-kids.jpg