16 Dec 2011

Hansen replaces Henry as All Blacks coach

7:32 pm on 16 December 2011

Newly appointed All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says taking over a World Cup winning side only makes the role even more challenging.

Hansen, 52, who has been Graham Henry's assistant for the past eight years has been given the top job after Henry announced his retirement in the wake of the World Cup win.

The former Canterbury midfield back, who has carved out a niche as forwards' coach, was the only candidate put forward for a formal interview at a New Zealand Rugby Union board meeting on Friday.

Often World Cup winning sides struggle after their success and Hansen says he fully aware of what is in store.

"From a coaching point of view and in this sport it's the greatest honour you can receive. It comes with a huge amount of responsibility," Hansen said.

"All I can say is I'm a passionate New Zealander, passionate about New Zealand rugby and passionate about the All Black jersey and its legacy," he said.

After Henry retired he endorsed Hansen, saying continuity was important.

The NZRU says the decision was unanimous.

Chairman Mike Eagle said Hansen was the best possible candidate.

Hansen also presented his preferred coaching team to the board which approved it unanimously.

NZRU management will now work through the employment process with each individual and the full coaching team will be announced as soon as possible.