All Blacks coach set to be announced
December 14, 2011
Current assistant coach Steve Hansen is favourite to step up to top job © Getty Images
The new All Blacks head coach is set to be announced by the New Zealand Rugby Union on Friday, according to reports.
The promotion of current assistant coach Steve Hansen to the top job is widely expected with the New Zealand Herald reporting that the only uncertainty surrounds the likely length of his contract and the identity of his support staff.
Hansen coached Wales between 2002-04 before joining the All Blacks having previously won three National Provincial Championship titles with Canterbury between 1997 and 2001 and served as the Crusaders' assistant coach when they won the Super Rugby title in 1999 and 2000.
Earlier reports have suggested that Hansen will call on former Chiefs coach Ian Foster and ex-Canterbury coach Aussie McLean to take charge of the All Blacks' backs and forwards respectively with current skills coach Mick Byrne set to retain his current role. However, the newspaper reports that concern at a lack of international experience among the potential assistants could delay an announcement on their appointment.
According to the newspaper, the NZRU have given some thought to giving Hansen a three or even four-year performance-related contract but are likely to stick to the current two-year deal with the possibility of a two-year extension.
Graham Henry stepped down as the All Blacks' head coach following their Rugby World Cup triumph - enforcing a change to the coaching team that has guided New Zealand for the last eight years. Fellow assistant coach Wayne Smith, who has previously served as head coach, has opted for a switch to the Chiefs on a two-year deal although has been linked with England.
Vern Cotter, who recently signed a new deal with French club side Clermont but has an exit clause, has expressed an interest in the role while the newspaper also touts Joe Schmidt, currently in charge of Heineken Cup winners Leinster, as another possible candidate. The two previously worked together at Bay of Plenty and Clermont.
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