After months of speculation about whether he's staying or going after next year's World Cup, Steve Hansen delivered his decision to an expectant nation in a typically straightforward way.

Hansen walked into the news conference at Auckland's Heritage Hotel this morning with New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew and chairman Brent Impey, and said: "We're all here to establish whether I'm staying or going so, I'm going."

Over the next 25 minutes, Hansen talked about his reasons for stepping down after next year's global tournament in Japan, which will be the fifth he has been to as a head coach (one with Wales, four with New Zealand).

The main one is that he believes that after being involved with the team since 2004 and as head coach since 2012, it's time for a fresh voice and new set of eyes.


Close behind is the ability to spend more time with his family and to try to have a more "normal" life, as he put it.

Steve Hansen will stand down as All Blacks head coach after next year's World Cup. Photo / Getty
Steve Hansen will stand down as All Blacks head coach after next year's World Cup. Photo / Getty

He refused to reflect on the highlights of his time with the All Blacks because he said he has another 12 months to go yet, and he didn't get want to get into who he thinks should succeed him, although he did say that his current assistant Ian Foster would do a good job despite not having coached overseas.

Hansen said he hadn't lost his passion for the job and wasn't sick of the pressure involved with it, saying walking into a packed test arena not knowing whether his side would win or not was one of its best aspects.

"I think after 16 years it's been a wonderfully privileged time to be involved in rugby in New Zealand but from a New Zealand Rugby point of view, I think it's fair to give them the time to … find a replacement," he said.

"The turbulence of trying to find a replacement after the World Cup, whether it's a good one or a bad one, is not really the way to do the process.

"It also means we won't be distracted by you guys asking me every five minutes am I staying or going. So that will be great and we'll be able to concentrate on what we have to do.

"We've always said it's about the team first and not the individual and for me, I think it's right for the team to have someone new after this World Cup.

"The other major reason is that I want to spend more time with my family. They have given me unreserved support and now it is time for me to make them the sole focus and spend more time with them. One of the things about this role - and I am not bagging it - is that you become everyone's property and everyone has an opinion. Which I am fine with but it is hard on the other family members."


Hansen doesn't have any other coaching role lined up. In fact, he has no plans after the World Cup, which kicks off in September. The All Blacks will be going for their third in succession – the first time a nation has even attempted such a feat.

"I haven't thought about what I will do after the World Cup. It is such a great privilege to coach the All Blacks and I am focused on nothing more than the next 21 months as we have an incredible opportunity to do something that no other team has ever done before," he said.

"I have no regrets about making the decision and feel good about it. By doing it now it gives the Rugby Union plenty of time to find a replacement and run their process and it means I won't be getting asked about it every five minutes."

Hansen's plans have gripped the nation for months and now attention will turn to his successor. Ireland's Kiwi coach Schmidt has ruled himself out in the short term, which means Hansen's assistant Foster will be at short odds to take the reins.