All Blacks Manager Darren Shand has announced he will be leaving the team after the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
The highly regarded member of the All Blacks management group has enjoyed a long career spanning four Rugby World Cups.
During that time he was part of what is described as a golden era - when the All Blacks won back-to-back tournaments in 2011 and 2015, and were the top-ranked team in the world for a decade.
Shand took on the job in 2004 with Sir Graham Henry after four years with the Crusaders. His role involves leading all team operations and managing the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) business objectives as they relate to the team.
”The time is right for me to take on my next challenge,” said Shand. “I absolutely love what I do and have witnessed the All Blacks grow into a huge operation which is global in brand and scale, and a massive machine.
”The skills I have learned over my 19 years are invaluable. My final tour as manager will be this year’s Rugby Championship and then ultimately the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. It will be a very special way to finish up my time. I have made rich connections with many people over the years.”
All Blacks coach Ian Foster added: “Darren has been an integral member of the All Blacks management group over many years. He has made a big contribution in leading the team operations group. He is responsible for many areas behind the scenes that are really important to moving the team around the world and making sure we get to match day in the best possible shape.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said the organisation was very grateful for Shand’s service and commitment through a very successful period for the All Blacks.”I am hugely appreciative of his efforts in making things run so smoothly behind the scenes,” Robinson said.
“Darren has also had a big role in upholding standards within the team and helping create a really positive and highly professional environment.”All Blacks halfback and centurion Aaron Smith, who has worked with Shand for over a decade, said he brought huge knowledge and experience to the manager’s role, as well as a sense of calmness.”
He is so well organised dealing with all the moving parts in the All Blacks,” Smith said. “He also holds people to account and has a way of challenging the leadership group which is really valuable.
”Two-time Rugby World Cup winner Dan Carter added: “Shandy’s work ethic, planning and preparation are unmatched. You know as a player he absolutely has your back. So much work behind the scenes goes on so that the players can just focus on being the best rugby players in the world. He has a huge wealth of experience and I’m excited to see what is next in his career. I want to pass on a huge thank you from all of us past players.”