Richie McCaw has turned down a knighthood and Steve Hansen has been appointed new All Black coach.
The New Zealand Prime Minister told Radio Sport he sounded out the All Black Captain on getting a knighthood.
He says he was deadly serious about the offer for the New Year’s honours.
“In the end the conclusion that he drew was that he would love to take it but now wasn’t the right time.”
Mr Key says McCaw felt it was too early.
“He made the call that he’s still in his playing career and it didn’t feel quite right for him, that day where he’s no longer on the pitch may be the right time for him.”
He says there was no formal offer made in the end.
“We didn’t formally get to offer it to him in the sense that we knew if we offered it he wouldn’t take it, but had he shown indication that he would’ve then we certainly would’ve offered it to him, I certainly wanted him to take it.”
In an unanimous decision Steve Hansen has been appointed to the position of All Blacks Coach, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) announced today.
Hansen, has been appointed for a two–year term, and was the only candidate recommended by an appointments panel to go through to an interview with the full NZRU Board.
Prior to joining the All Blacks, Hansen coached Wales for two years, was Assistant Coach of the Crusaders during their title–winning seasons in 1999 – 2001 and won titles with Canterbury in 2001 and 1997.
Steve Hansen said he will revert to the traditional model of having one assistant coach.
“I would have loved to have had two if we had the `dream team’ people available,” he said in reference to former Test coaches.
“But doing the research that I did trying to get this team together, it became obvious and clear that that wasn’t the case, so the team needs were better suited by one and one.”
As well as Hansen’s appointment on a two-year contract, the members of his preferred team were also approved at an NZRU board meeting.
Their identities haven’t yet been revealed, with the NZRU saying it was going through the employment process with each individual.
That process is expected to be completed in time for an announcement before the end of next week.
Media reports have previously mentioned former Chiefs coach Ian Foster and former Canterbury coach Aussie McLean as likely inclusions.
Well Hansen’s appointment was expected by everyone and comes as no surprise. What is a bit of a surprise is his decision to revert back to one assistant. Clearly Hansen wants to be more than a manager and wants to take full responsibility for coaching the forwards.
One gets the idea that Hansen was not prepared to stick with recent process just for the sake of it. He would rather do stuff himself than try and work with someone he doesn’t know and in whom he has no real confidence. There is a lesson in this for the new South African coach, I believe.
McCaw’s decision is to be respected but I couldn’t help to wonder if the knighthood would have been offered had New Zealand not choked in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. McCaw is the first New Zealander to get 100 caps and also one of the most successful All Black captains ever and consequently a knighthood, one could argue, is not totally out of order.
Considering the elaborated entitling that the 2003 England coach, captain and flyhalf were bestowed New Zealand’s attempt to follow suite are probably understandable.
In my mind knight hooding of rugby players is a bit over the top.