The eight-season veteran knows more about coaching than most but has a daunting All Black record to repeat.
My All Black memory is focusing on 2003 - although colleagues kindly suggest it struggles to recall what happened yesterday.
It does wander back further, but my specific focus was on a World Cup pool game in Sydney between the All Blacks and Wales.
Four months earlier, Wales, under the tutelage of coach Steve Hansen, had wandered into Waikato Stadium and been belted 55-3 by the All Blacks. As Hansen put it then, his side was just blown away by the men in black; they weren't in the same class.
When they next met later that year, across the Ditch in the western suburbs of Sydney, Wales led going into the last quarter of their tournament pool match.
Wales had qualified for the quarters and didn't put out their full-strength side, but the one that took the field played with a panache that enthralled the crowd and disconcerted the All Blacks.
Eventually, the All Blacks eased away to a 53-37 victory, but Hansen and his crew had made a serious impression. It was the sort of footy he had encouraged when he was coaching Canterbury and helping the Crusaders before his switch to Wales.
Nine years on, Hansen is now in the big chair with the All Blacks. He's done eight seasons with Wayne Smith as assistant to Graham Henry as they wound through the dramas of 103 tests together with the All Blacks.
They survived one World Cup meltdown and lurched across the finish line to gold at last year's event. Henry has moved on to a broad portfolio, Smith is delivering his wisdom to the Chiefs, and Hansen has stepped up a cog with the men in black.
The 53-year-old knows more about coaching a test side than most in this land; he's inherited his father's love for the game and gifts of selection and tuition.
But there's no harm in giving Hansen a few reminders, a couple of gentle prods about the road ahead. He's got the coaching bib for the next two years but his eyes must be on seeing out a full term and trying to replicate the All Blacks' global success in the UK in 2015.
So Shag, here's a few ideas, some reminders of the pitfalls and tips for connecting to those who follow your winter code.
For a couple of years the All Blacks cruised on after their epic showing at the '95 World Cup. Everyone loved the march as they had 20 wins, a loss and a draw but a few blokes were getting a little slower and captain Sean Fitzpatrick was nobbled by a knee injury. Zinzan Brooke followed through the exit door, Michael and Ian Jones were getting towards the end of their careers, Walter Little's knee was creaking badly and Olo Brown's neck was on the wane.
Five losses in a row brought all sorts of political strife for John Hart as he tried to fend off hordes of detractors and those who wanted his job. The excitement of the winning run had masked the dwindling calibre. The changes came but not early enough for most.
Choose youngsters carefully
Hansen has made some clever political inroads into that scenario with the clutch of youngsters picked in his extended training group. He has appeased those who have clamoured for an injection of new talent while satisfying his instincts that he can squeeze a great deal more from those who have worn black before.
But at some stage, he's going to have to punt some of the under-performers, whether they're young, old, have worn black a great deal or not much at all.
The exit plan
Work on Richie McCaw's departure from the sport. The man is a wondrous talent on many fronts. But in the next few years his star will dwindle, his physical attributes will not allow his body to perform what his mind instructs. The Wallabies have David Pocock with the rising Liam Gill and Michael Hooper buzzing around in the No 7 uniform. Hansen has settled on Sam Cain as the flanker with the best credentials to follow McCaw. That dovetailing has to start and be tested now.
Stay true to yourself
You saw the strife John Mitchell discovered when he shunned the public and fans. Hansen got into similar strife a few years ago when he defended his players and ended up brawling with the media. He chose to change and enlisted some help to manage both areas. He wanted to remain loyal to his troops but also connect strongly with the public instead of pushing them away.
Six of the All Black squad have listened to Hansen for the last eight years, some perhaps a shade longer. Whatever, Hansen has to bring out the freshen-up package for his men. He's recognised that. "As long as you're prepared to keep growing and developing as coaches, as management staff and players, you're not going to turn around and say you don't want Dan Carter because he's been there for nine years, or Richie McCaw. What you want is for those people to keep growing, and coaches are no different."
Reinforce the elite
Why not buck the trend and pick a 22-man squad each week. Gathering an expanded group together this weekend and next for national training camps gives too many players a bloated sense of their value. The All Blacks are supposed to be extra-special; reinforce that with selection.
Bring back the steel
Hansen made his mark as a forwards coach, someone who wanted his men to soften up the opposition so the backs could purr. Sounds a damned good theory, let's see more of that.