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Friday 25 July 2014

Hansen coy on New Zealand future

Published 20/10/2011|09:35

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen has straight-batted speculation about his coaching future as New Zealand prepare for Sunday's World Cup final against France.

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Former Wales coach Hansen, current assistant to All Blacks supremo Graham Henry, is among the favourites to succeed his boss when he steps down after the tournament.



But Hansen said: "It's not even something I am thinking about at the moment. Four years ago we got knocked out in the quarter-final of a World Cup, and three coaches (Henry, Hansen and Wayne Smith) made a decision to try and re-get the job, and we did that."



He added: "We were lucky enough to get reappointed, and last weekend we earned the right to turn up on Sunday at nine o'clock to try and win the thing. That is the only thing I am thinking about. I don't really care what happens after Sunday. All I am focusing on is trying to get a team ready to turn up to win.



"We are really excited, and there is no room for anything else at the moment. It's just a total focus on trying to get the team together to play really, really well because we know we're going to have to. The French are going to turn up and play well.



"Not too many times in your life do you get the opportunity for something special to happen. You are now not only doing it for yourself, you're doing it for all the people who have made sacrifices and for our country, so you've just got to make sure you get it right."



New Zealand are red-hot favourites to be crowned world champions for the first time since 1987 when they beat France at Eden Park, the venue for Sunday's showpiece. They have also toppled Les Bleus in the tournament's pool stage, but Hansen is guarding against the remotest hint of complacency creeping in.



He added: "They have done exactly what we've done - they've earned the right to arrive at Eden Park and play on Sunday at nine o'clock.



"It's a two-horse race, and both teams will be doing their utmost to win it. As the tournament has built, I think we've built our performance and there is just a genuine desire to get the job done.



"The guys are relaxed, which is great. The thing about this tournament is you can't be turned on the whole time, you've got to have moments where you can relax and we've managed to handle that pretty well. But I know there is a huge, huge desire. There is a huge excitement about having the opportunity to do something special."



Belfast Telegraph

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