New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have announced that Steve Hansen has been reappointed to the position of All Blacks Head Coach and will coach them through to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Hansen, who was initially appointed All Blacks Head Coach last year on a two–year contract,said he was delighted to be given the opportunity to continue coaching the All Blacks.
"I would like to thank the Board for their support and endorsement in giving me an extended contract through to the end of Rugby World Cup 2015. "
"I am looking forward to not only the challenges that are coming this year, but right through to 2015. Having the opportunity to try and recapture the Webb Ellis Cup is something that I'm really excited by," Hansen said.
"Our focus as always will be on enhancing the All Blacks legacy. In doing that, it will be about not only winning Test matches today but also making sure we have the experience and personnel to win Test matches tomorrow and beyond."
NZR CEO Steve Tew made that announcement at a media conference at New Zealand Rugby House in Wellington.
"I want to congratulate Steve on his reappointment," Tew said.
"He had an outstanding first year as Head Coach and his coaching and leadership helped the team build on its exceptional legacy: the team won 12 of their 14 Test matches last year, won the Steinlager Series and Investec Rugby Championship and retained the Bledisloe Cup, as well as their number one world ranking," he added.
Tew said the reappointment of Hansen, who won the International Rugby Board (IRB) and Steinlager Coach of the Year awards last year, had been unanimously endorsed by the NZRU Board at a recent Board meeting.
He said while Hansen and his fellow selectors Ian Foster and Grant Fox had last year concentrated on the "here and now", they had also kept one eye on the future, introducing nine new players into the All Blacks.
"Having the All Blacks go back-to-back at Rugby World Cup is one of the key goals for our organisation over the next three years and we look forward to working with Steve and the rest of the All Blacks team to help them achieve that goal."
Hansen said while the team had been very happy with its results last year, the team also realised it had to grow.
"We have to keep growing both our leadership experience so that we have more players who can make good decisions in the big moments and we need to grow our game so we stay in front rather than allowing others to catch up.
"We also need to get our timing right when it comes to introducing more new faces into the team. In saying that, clearly it will make the next few years tougher than last year, but that's something we are looking forward to."
Meanwhile, in other appointments, All Blacks Manager Darren Shand has also extended his contract with New Zealand Rugby through to Rugby World Cup 2015, while Dr Tony Page has been appointed to the role of All Blacks Doctor, replacing Dr Deb Robinson who stepped down earlier this year after seven years in the job.
"I'm very happy to confirm that Darren is continuing in his role – he is a world–class manager – and he and Steve will now work on finalising the contracts for the rest of the All Blacks management team," Steve Tew said.
"I also want to welcome Tony Page to the All Blacks management team. We are delighted to have someone of Tony's calibre join the team and he will bring considerable medical and specialist sports medicine experience to the role," he added.