For the first time in a decade, the All Blacks are not the number one rated in the world. Many experts put this down to mere numbers and still confess that the All Blacks are the most fabulous rugby team in the world. Their worst position ever on the world rankings was when they were at number 3 during 2003. Behind any successful team stands a strong and powerful coach. Since 2012 this man has been Steven Hansen for the All Blacks.
The 60-year-old coach was born in Mosgiel, which is part of Dunedin in New Zealand. His parents were Desmond and Lauriss Hansen, and they had a dairy farm. Hansen childhood days were spent on this farm in the Taieri Plain, and he went to school at the Outram Primary School and then later on to the Taieri High School and also, later on, he attended the Christchurch Boys’ High School. During this time he was playing for Canterbury at the top level a total of 21 times.
Early Coaching Career
Hansen entered into coaching at the Canterbury provincial rugby union. He was coaching there between 1996 and 2001. During his time there his team won the National Provincial Championship twice. During the same period, Hansen also assisted at the Canterbury Crusaders as assistant coach to initially Wayne Smith and then later on Robbie Deans.
Hansen moved to Wales during 2002 where he became the 9th coach to the team in 13 years. The team would perform well initially and then fold and lose their matches. This became a trend with the team, and it resulted in a lot of criticism towards Hansen. This reached a peak when for the first time in history, the team lost all their matches during the Six Nations Championship in 2003. During the World Cup the same year, the team excelled once again, and this stopped the criticism on his coaching skills.
Returning to New Zealand
In 2004, Hansen decided to step down as coach to Wales and returned to New Zealand where he became assistant coach to the All Blacks under Graham Henry. He was appointed as head coach to the team after Henry’s departure after their victory in the 2011 RWC and started 2012 off in his current position.
Under Hansen’s guidance, the New Zealand All Blacks have gone from one tremendous success to the next. Over his coaching period, they had won the Rugby Championships every year except in 2015 when they were the runners-up. They were also victorious of the 2015 Webb Ellis Cup; they were Rugby Team of the Year every year from 2012 – 2017. Hansen was also chosen as the World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. These are only a few of the honours and accolades which the All Black managed to achieve under Hansen’s brilliant coaching skills. Hansen and his team is a success story, evident of the influence of an excellent coach.