New Zealand Rugby
Henry backs Hansen for All Blacks post
ESPNscrum Staff
November 2, 2011

Departing All Blacks head coach Graham Henry has backed his assistant Steve Hansen to take charge of the Rugby World Cup winners.

Henry, who announced earlier this week that he would be stepping down from the role, believes Hansen can provide the experience and continuity required for the side to build on their World Cup triumph that was sealed with a 8-7 victory over France last month.

"So I think Steve Hansen should do the job," said the 65-year-old Henry after bringing the curtain down on an eight-year stint as All Blacks coach that produced 88 wins in 103 Tests. 'It's my personal opinion and it does give us continuity from what has happened over the last eight years and what goes for the future, and I think that's very important for any sporting team of this type."

Hansen, and any other candidates, will have to adhere to a formal interview process but New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew hopes to have named a new head coach by Christmas.

"Then we'll take a deep breath and see where we're at," he said. "We've asked the candidates to come with a full package, but that doesn't mean that package will be appointed en masse."

Former Chiefs coach Ian Foster and current All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne have been tipped to form part of Hansen's 'package' while Henry's other assistant, Wayne Smith, who previously served as All Blacks coach between 2000-01, will join the Chiefs coaching staff ahead of the new Super Rugby season.

Henry's own future remains unclear and while he has expressed a desire to work as a coaching mentor in New Zealand he has not ruled out working as a consultant for an overseas club or union.

"I have family over here in New Zealand, but I would like to spend a little bit of time assisting if there is a demand from a club or from a union in Europe over the next few years," he said. "I'm not talking about a full time position with x, y, z. I'm talking about a very part-time mentoring role of helping other people do the job. I think time will tell about those things, I need to think those things through."

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