No surprise - Steve Hansen takes All Blacks helm

Steve Hansen's most recent assignment, coaching the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham.
Steve Hansen's most recent assignment, coaching the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham.
From left - All Blacks coach Graham Henry, assistant Steve Hansen and key players Richie McCaw and Dan Carter enjoy a public parade after winning the Rugby World Cup.
From left - All Blacks coach Graham Henry, assistant Steve Hansen and key players Richie McCaw and Dan Carter enjoy a public parade after winning the Rugby World Cup.
Steve Hansen gets emotional with the Webb Ellis Cup at an official photography session for the world champion All Blacks.
Steve Hansen gets emotional with the Webb Ellis Cup at an official photography session for the world champion All Blacks.
Steve Hansen after All Blacks training in Buenos Aires in 2005. From left are Tony Woodcock, Anton Oliver, Ali Williams and Jason Eaton.
Steve Hansen after All Blacks training in Buenos Aires in 2005. From left are Tony Woodcock, Anton Oliver, Ali Williams and Jason Eaton.
Steve Hansen runs All Blacks scrum training in Cardiff in 2004.
Steve Hansen runs All Blacks scrum training in Cardiff in 2004.
Steve Hansen speaking to his sparring partners in the media early in his tenure as All Blacks assistant coach in 2004.
Steve Hansen speaking to his sparring partners in the media early in his tenure as All Blacks assistant coach in 2004.
Announced as Welsh coach, replacing Graham Henry in February 2002.
Announced as Welsh coach, replacing Graham Henry in February 2002.
Steven Hansen at a training run as Canterbury coach with fullback Ben Blair in 2001.
Steven Hansen at a training run as Canterbury coach with fullback Ben Blair in 2001.
The old firm of (from left) Canterbury Rugby chief executive Steve Tew, Canterbury coach Robbie Deans and assistant coach Steve Hansen in 2000.
The old firm of (from left) Canterbury Rugby chief executive Steve Tew, Canterbury coach Robbie Deans and assistant coach Steve Hansen in 2000.

The foregone conclusion has been made official - Steve Hansen is the new All Blacks coach.

Hansen was named as Graham Henry's successor at a media conference in Wellington this afternoon after the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) board met to consider the appointment.

The decision to appoint the Christchurch-based 52-year-old was widely expected after the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup success in October.

TOP DOG: After eight years as All Blacks assistant to Graham Henry, former policeman Steve Hansen inherits the highest coaching post in the land.
TOP DOG: After eight years as All Blacks assistant to Graham Henry, former policeman Steve Hansen inherits the highest coaching post in the land.

The former policeman has been an All Blacks assistant coach for the past eight years and was always going to be the frontunner to succeed Henry in the event that New Zealand won the World Cup.

Hansen has long been linked with former Chiefs coach Ian Foster and former Canterbury coach and close friend Aussie McLean, while current All Blacks kicking coach Mick Byrne has expressed his desire to move into a more senior role with the forwards.

Henry, Hansen and Wayne Smith, now in an assistant's role with the Chiefs, guided the All Blacks for eight years and won the World Cup at the second try this year after tripping up in the quarterfinals in 2007.

France-based Vern Cotter, coach of Clermont, shaped as the strongest challenger to Hansen, although NZRU chief executive Steve Tew had previously spoken of the benefits of continuity, while Henry endorsed Hansen as his successor.

Before joining the All Blacks in 2004, the former Canterbury mentor coached Wales for two years, succeeding Henry.

In 2003, Wales lost every match in the Six Nations, for the first time in their history, and went on to record a streak of 11 consecutive test defeats.

Hansen has not always enjoyed a good relationship with the media, and he has made efforts to improve his public image, having sought advice from former TVNZ boss Ian Fraser.

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