Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

Rugby: Hansen in talks to extend tenure

Hansen is the most successful coach currently employed in test football. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Hansen is the most successful coach currently employed in test football. Photo / Brett Phibbs

From initially being reluctant to stay beyond 2017, Steve Hansen may soon be given a contract offer to stay as All Blacks coach until the next World Cup.

No offer has yet been made but New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew says discussions have reached the stage where they are getting into the fine detail.

When Hansen said immediately after the last World Cup that he wasn't sure about staying beyond his current contract, his biggest concern was that it might not be the right for the team.

Since he went public with that view, leading players and the NZR have been clear that they want Hansen to take the team through to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Hansen was also unsure about whether it would be the right thing for him and his family but, again, having given it ample thought, it would seem he is ready to make the commitment.

"We are talking to Steve as we speak and the sooner [we get it sorted] the better but these things always take a bit of time and we need to make sure it's right for both parties," Tew told Newstalk ZB in an interview to be aired this afternoon.

"We are working through that carefully but I think the time frame is relatively short.

"Steve has indicated that staying on to 2019 is something he would seriously consider. It seems that it's right for him and his family and I think he's getting the vibes from our side and the players that they would like him to be around. In the end, that is probably the most important thing. Is it right for the team for Steve to be here for a further two years and what does that mean for the rest of the management team and other coaches who are aspiring?"

While Tew says the time frame to conclude a deal will most likely be relatively short, the devil may yet be in the detail.

Having been at the helm since 2012, presiding over a supremely successful period which has seen the All Blacks win the World Cup and lose just three games, Hansen is the most successful coach currently employed in test football.

His record and the standing of the All Blacks are such that he should, in theory, be the highest paid coach in the world.

But NZR have been reluctant in the past to push their coaching salaries in line with other markets where the likes of England coach Eddie Jones and Wales coach Warren Gatland are believed to be paid around $800,000 a season.

"We want him to stay," said Tew. "Now it's just a matter of getting the agreement in place and that always takes a bit of time. We don't have an urgency around this. It's something we can work through carefully. We are keen to keep Steve. He's the best in the world. It's just a matter of getting the terms right."

- Herald on Sunday

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