All Blacks coach Steve Hansen to step down after Rugby World Cup

He’s arguably the most successful manager in history with a win record of 88.5%, but All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has announced he will step down after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

New Zealander Hansen has led the All Blacks since 2012, a period that has seen them retain the World Cup in 2015 and win six Rugby Championship titles.

He joined the coaching setup in 2004 when he served as an assistant to Graham Henry. During his six-year tenure as head coach, Hansen’s side has remained the No. 1 ranked team in the world, winning 96 test matches and losing just eight.

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“As only people who have done the job will understand, there are not only heavy demands on yourself, but also on your family,” 59-year-old Hansen explained.

“My family has given me unreserved love and support over the last 16 years and I feel it’s now time to make them the sole focus.

“It’s been a huge privilege to be part of the All Blacks for such a long time and I’m really looking forward to, and excited by the challenges, of the next 12 months.

“We’ll be attempting to do something that has never been done before — to win three consecutive Rugby World Cups. I’m highly motivated by that, as is the whole group, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

READ: Why are the All Blacks so good?

READ: Joe Schmidt to stand down as Ireland coach

Hansen is yet to announce whether he will stay in coaching beyond 2019.

With an 88.5% winning record, his New Zealand side has rarely been matched on the field. Yet recent months have seen the All Blacks stutter, going down 36-34 at home to South Africa in September, before a 16-9 defeat to Ireland in November.

That defeat to Ireland hinted at a potential power shift in international rugby, with Joe Schmidt’s side a serious contender to win next year’s World Cup.

Like his countryman Hansen, Ireland coach Schmidt also announced he would step away from coaching after Japan 2019 to spend more time with his family.