All Blacks need to look ahead
April 10, 2013
Steve Hansen has vowed to make bold decisions for the All Blacks © Getty Images
The All Blacks need to look at rejuvenating an ageing leadership group if they want back-to-back IRB Rugby World Cup wins, says newly re-appointed coach Steve Hansen.
The New Zealand Rugby Union announced on Wednesday that Hansen, who took over from World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry in 2011, will guide the side in their defence of the Webb Ellis Cup.
Hansen was initially appointed on a two-year deal and oversaw an All Blacks record of 12 wins, one draw and one loss in 2012.
"It's been well publicised we've got an ageing leadership group, and it's been that leadership group who've been able to make the right decisions in the big moments in critical test matches," Hansen told a media conference. "There's a lot of people in the group who want to be in the next World Cup squad, and some of them aren't going to make it. We need to make sure we've got our balance right and our selections over the next two-three years that we've got the right people in place."
Hansen said the easy option of settling for older players with experience in the leadership group wasn't necessarily the right move.
"This is where we've got to be really bold - what we've got to do is look into the future, and look at some of the younger guys. It'll be people that may not have played 50 or 60 Tests, it might be someone that's only played four or five, or under 20."
Nine new All Blacks have been capped under Hansen and he says preparing the side for the future is crucial.
"We've got to make sure we don't just consolidate from where we are. Last year was a good year, but we've got to keep moving forward."
The All Blacks face a three-Test series against France in June before the four-way Rugby Championship begins in July.
And although the long-term aim is the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, Hansen says the All Blacks' short-term goals remain the same.
"That's never changed in the history of the All Blacks - you've got to win now and you've got to win in the future. You've just got to keep winning."
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter