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Steve Hansen

Steve HansenAll Blacks coach Steve Hansen can see where his predecessor, Sir Graham Henry, is coming from.

But Hansen wants his team to continue improving without the need of a loss as a wake-up call.

Henry, with Hansen as an assistant, steered New Zealand to the World Cup title in 2011.

However, 12 months out from the start of their defence, Henry is worried they might get too used to winning and believes some adversity, namely a loss, might have benefits.

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen doesn’t mind having a public pop at the Wallabies, but when it comes to one of world rugby’s enduring rivalries, and South African coach Heyneke Meyer, there is nothing but mutual respect.

“I myself have a huge amount of respect for their coach [Heyneke Meyer]. I think he’s a good man and a good coach,” Hansen said today, ahead of Saturday night’s test against South Africa in Wellington.

“Their captain Jean [de Villiers], having his 100th game [on Saturday] I’d like to congratulate him on that.”

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Gavin Rich

Gavin Rich

Heyneke Meyer, as every Springbok coach has before him, will have his year’s work measured by how his side goes against the All Blacks.

That is just the way it is in South Africa and Meyer would have known that before he accepted the job. But if anyone thinks it’s a fair contest, and that he is pitting himself against his All Black adversary Steve Hansen on equal terms, they need to think again.

The expectations of South Africans do not match the rugby realities of the two countries. New Zealand’s centralised system, with Super Rugby coaches and players contracted to the NZRFU and everything geared towards making the All Blacks excellent, gives Hansen a leg up that Meyer doesn’t have.

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Steve Hansen & Sonny Bill Williams

‘ONE OF THE BEST': All Blacks coach Steve Hansen shares a moment in 2012 with favoured player Sonny Bill Williams.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made it clear that Sonny Bill Williams will be on the end of year tour, though there are no guarantees he will play any games.

Hansen has voiced his views on the controversial decision to get Williams instantly into the All Blacks selection mix on his return from rugby league, even though he may not have played for his Counties Manukau union. His selection would be against ordinary New Zealand Rugby regulations.

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Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw, does he still have plenty to offer?

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen disagrees Richie McCaw is a fading force but insists neither he, nor his captain, will be afraid to make the right call to end his illustrious career.

On either side of the Tasman, there are growing concerns an ageing McCaw won’t make it to next year’s World Cup.

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Steve Hansen

SOBERING NIGHT IN SYDNEY: Is All Black coach Steve Hansen running out of ideas for his All Blacks?

Love the rain. Give me a stick of dynamite and I would blow the roof off the Millennium Stadium. Wet weather rugby is a whole new ball game. It demands a higher skill level, a flexible tactical mind and it gives the fate of the contest to the forwards.

Suddenly these All Blacks didn’t look half the team that some people had assumed they were.

Don’t tell me the conditions were impossible or that they ruined the spectacle. And don’t tell it to the 39,523 people, it is still hard to believe the size of the crowd, who were jammed into Wellington’s Athletic Park back in 1996.

The conditions that day were far worse than they were in Sydney last weekend, because a howling wind drove the rain, but those All Blacks played the rugby of the gods.

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New ZealandKiwi straight-shooter Steve Hansen says the All Blacks can lift 10 or 12 notches from their Bledisloe-opening draw but doubts whether the Wallabies can rise any further.

Hansen has reacted to the 12-12 Sydney stalemate like a loss and admitted widespread criticism of his team’s poor display was wholly warranted.

He said New Zealand needed to improve “just about everything” to continue their amazing 32-Test Eden Park streak on Saturday night.

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Steve Hansen

All Black coach Steve Hansen.

It was no consolation at all to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen that a post-game meeting with last week’s referee Jaco Peyper yielded a frank “mea culpa” from the South African whistle-blower.

Hansen factored a poor refereeing performance into the contributing reasons for a sub-par All Black performance in last week’s 12-12 draw with the Wallabies in Sydney to open the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series.

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New ZealandThe All Blacks were left feeling “hollow” and “gutted” after their record-equalling test win streak came to a limp end on Saturday night at the Olympic stadium.

To that they might have added relieved at escaping with a draw they scarcely deserved.

Truth be told, the All Blacks were fortunate indeed to slip out of Sydney with a 12-12 stalemate that was flattering to them, after being outplayed in the second half by a Wallabies outfit who just weren’t good enough to close out a victory that was theirs for the taking.

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All Blacks coach finds positives in likely season-ending shoulder injury of prop Tony Woodcock.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen appears resigned to losing test veteran Tony Woodcock for the rest of 2014 – though he believes there is a significant upside to the loosehead prop’s likely season-ending injury.

Hansen wrapped up the second day of a mini-camp with his non-Crusaders All Blacks in Auckland today, and said the prognosis was looking increasingly dim for Woodcock who was battling a serious shoulder problem.

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New ZealandThe All Blacks will get another crack at matching the record for consecutive Tier One Test victories when they face England in Hamilton this weekend.

The record of 17 victories has been reached by the All Blacks side of the late 1960’s and Nick Mallett’s Springbok team of the lates 1990’s, and Richie McCaw will have his third shot as captain at joining them on Saturday.

The Wallabies have twice ended an All Blacks winning streak on 16 victories in recent years, springing a surprise in Hong Kong back in 2010 and then earning a draw in Brisbane in 2012.

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Aaron Cruden

Aaron Cruden

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen praised the bravery and class of flyhalf Aaron Cruden for producing the match-winning moment in a tight Test.

Cruden was hailed as the hero of the All Blacks’ last gasp 20-15 win over England at the weekend, not for the five penalties he kicked but for the one he turned down.

Cruden not only caught England napping but also his own teammates when he opted to tap and run when the All Blacks won a handy penalty with the score locked at 15-all.

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

New ZealandSteve Hansen could never be accused of being a conservative.

The All Blacks coach has struck a balance between future and present in naming three new caps on the reserves bench to play England at Eden Park on Saturday.

Centre Malakai Fekitoa, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and halfback TJ Perenara have all been named in the 23-man squad for the first test of the international season.

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Malakai Fekitoa

Malakai Fekitoa

Patrick Tuipulotu

Patrick Tuipulotu

New ZealandThe All Blacks have called up two new players and recalled two World Cup-winners to the squad to face England.

Highlanders midfielder Malakai Fekitoa and Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu are the two uncapped players, whilst loose forwards Jerome Kaino and Victor Vito return after extended absences.

The backs – forwards split sees 17 forwards selected (two hookers, five props, four locks and six loose forwards) and 14 backs (three halfbacks, three first five–eighths, four midfielders and four outside backs) and the squad has a combined total of 1,125 Test caps.

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2013The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.

New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.

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New ZealandKieran ReadSteve HansenAll Blacks and Crusaders vice captain Kieran Read has been named the International Rugby Board’s Player of the Year for 2013.

New Zealand rugby claimed a triple scoop on the awards as the All Blacks were also named team of the year while coach of the year went to Steve Hansen.

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New ZealandAll Blacks coach Steve Hansen was a proud man after a dramatic comeback against Ireland capped an unbeaten year for his side.

The world champions were forced to come from behind to become the first team to win every match in a calendar year in the professional era.

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New ZealandIt was not the perfect weekend for the All Blacks, with France running them close. This begs the question whether Daniel Carter is still the flyhalf maestro he once was.

All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen, says the All Blacks will be better against England compared to how they went against France.

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New ZealandSteve HansenAs expected, New Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has given his charges the week off after their stellar performance over the weekend, clinching The Rugby Championship against the Springboks from South Africa.

They are nursing quite a number of bumps and bruises, the result from the hard encounter with the Springboks.

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New ZealandRichie McCawThe All Blacks headed to South Africa on Monday banking on the return of talismanic captain Richie McCaw to put the seal on another successful season.

Although New Zealand require just a single bonus point to retain their Rugby Championship title, they are determined to seal it by beating arch rivals South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday.

And the All Blacks are confident they will have McCaw in their arsenal.

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Steve HansenNew Zealand rejected suggestions that Argentina will resort to foul play in Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test in Hamilton as they brace for a physical challenge from the South Americans.

Argentina came under the microscope after their recent defeat to South Africa, with Leonardo Senatore receiving a nine-week suspension for biting while Pablo Matera was accused of eye-gouging, though he was found not guilty.

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New ZealandUncapped Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields has been included in a 30-man All Black training squad who will gather in Auckland this week ahead of the Rugby Championship.

Blues utility back Francis Saili is the second uncapped player included in the squad by All Black coach Steve Hansen, who has as expected welcomed back captain Richie McCaw.

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The All Blacks selectors, Coach Steve Hansen, Assistant Coach Ian Foster and fellow selector Grant Fox, have selected 35 players to attend two training camps ahead of the three Steinlager Series Tests against Ireland.

The first wider training group camp will be held in Auckland from next Sunday 20 May – Tuesday 22 May with the second camp in Wellington from Sunday 27 May – Tuesday 29 May.

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The forgone conclusion has been made official – Steve Hansen is the new All Blacks coach.

Hansen has been announced as Graham Henry’s successor at a media conference in Wellington this afternoon after the New Zealand Rugby Union board met earlier today to consider the appointment.

Hansen was the only candidate recommended by an appointments panel to go through to a full interview with the board, which unanimously voted for him.

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