Former All Blacks and Canterbury coach Steve Hansen is switching codes - joining the Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL.
Hansen is joining the Bulldogs as a high-performance consultant, with the Bulldogs hoping to rebuild after a season which saw them finish 15th with just three wins from 20 games.
Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill is delighted to bring Hansen on board, saying he will work closely with new coach Trent Barrett and his management staff, as well as the players' leadership group.
'[It's] tremendous news for everyone associated with the Bulldogs as he is one of the most highly respected figures throughout all of sports," Hill said.
"To be able to have someone with Steve's record and background work with our staff and players will be a great asset to our club.
"He was responsible for being a major driving force behind one of the most successful sporting brands in history and his knowledge and thoughts on areas such as leadership, high performance, preparation and team ethic will be invaluable to our club as we look to create the right environment for success, on and off the field.
"Steve has already developed a relationship with Trent Barrett, after Trent spent some time with the All Blacks in recent seasons and we believe that his knowledge and insights will be of tremendous benefit."
Barrett told the Daily Telegraph that the role had been in the works since Barrett spent time inside the All Blacks camp.
"We've stayed in touch and we've been talking about this role for a few months," Barrett said, "This is really big for us.
"When I got the job at Canterbury I just thought he'd be ideal and he was keen to help out and try something new.
"It's fantastic for us from a leadership position and to help make sure we get off on the right foot in areas around culture.
"It's well known that the All Blacks are the benchmark in that regard."
Hansen stepped down as All Blacks head coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup and took up a role with Toyota Verblitz in Japan as a coaching consultant, finishing a 107-game stint in charge of the All Blacks in which he won 93 matches, including a World Cup triumph in 2015 and six Rugby Championship titles.
Barrett says Hansen will offer advice in all areas of the Bulldogs' football operations, and is hoping that Covid-19 restrictions will allow Hansen to spend significant time in camp with the club.
"It will be a broad role and it's important for me to have someone of his stature to lean on," he said.
"There are not too many things he hasn't seen or done in sport.
"There's a lot of things we can do over Zoom. Ideally when he have our camps and when we're doing our preparation it would be beneficial for him to be here with us. That's something we'll work out."