Two former players who served under Robbie Deans say the man is thorough and does what is best for the team.
Mark Hammett is the Crusaders assistant coach and is in the unique position of playing under Deans and working with him as a coach.
Hammett said Deans doesn't leave any stone un-turned and creates good relationships with players.
"He's competitive - you can put that in capitals - but he's not arrogant competitive. It's a part of him, it's his drive," Hammett said.
He said Deans recognises that every player is different and has something unique to offer the team.
"It's a part of their game and being in the team," Hammett said.
Dave Hewitt played for the All Blacks and the Crusaders under Deans. He said the man knows what he wants and can get the best out of his players.
"He knows a lot about the game, he's right up there with one of the best. The record speaks for itself - not only as a coach but a player for Canterbury," Hewitt said.
He said Deans has changed his style as a leader over the years and now accepts input from other people.
"He realises he may not have all the answers," Hewitt said.
He said the country does not realise what kind of a loss Deans' new appointment represents.
"Not just for Canterbury. But in saying that, he's not lost forever," Hewitt said.
Former All Black Kieran Crowley competed with Deans for the All Blacks number 15 jersey and was an All Black selector while Deans was assistant ABs coach under John Mitchell.
"He's hugely competitive at anything, even if you're going for a run or having a game of anything," Crowley said.
He said Deans is thorough in whatever he does.
"I've seen a change in him in his coaching style. He's very open now and willing to share everything," Crowley said.
- NZ HERALD STAFF