New Zealand rugby head coach Steve Hansen has reiterated his intentions to step down from his role after the 2019 Rugby World Cup and already speculation has begun over who will succeed him.
The World Cup-winning coach had initially floated the possibility of stepping aside after the 2015 World Cup but the powers within New Zealand rugby convinced him to remain on and go for a hat trick of wins, following their 2011 victory on home soil.
Though Hansen admitted last year that while there is a chance he will continue on beyond 2019, it was unlikely and in a recent interview with NZME and reported by Stuff, the 58-year-old has not wavered from that position.
“I think, without committing to it 100 per cent, I can’t see myself extending beyond the World Cup and there are probably a couple of others [All Blacks management team] who won’t either.
“We have talked to the NZ Rugby Union about talking to some of the people whose contracts I think they should definitely extend already and they are doing that.
“Then it comes down to do they [NZR] want continuity from a head coaching point of view or do they want someone new. That will be up to the appointment panel. There are some good candidates,”
With his end date all but set, eyes are inevitably turning to successors.
Already in the mix are Hansen’s assistant Ian Foster, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and current Ireland boss Joe Schmidt. However, should current Wales boss Warren Gatland be successful against the All Blacks this summer with his British and Irish Lions, who is to say the New Zealander won’t be added to the growing list of potential candidates, should he express an interest.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]