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Former All Blacks coach Hansen confirms Japan move

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By Reuters
Former All Blacks coach Hansen confirms Japan move
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Bronze Final - New Zealand v Wales - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - November 1, 2019 New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen celebrates after receiving a bronze medal. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra   -   Copyright  PETER CZIBORRA(Reuters)
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WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen on Monday confirmed his long-expected move to Japan where he will take up a role as coaching consultant with Top League side Toyota Verblitz.

The 60-year-old stepped down from the All Blacks following their third-place finish at the Rugby World Cup. He spent 16 years with the team, the last eight as head coach, and was a part of two successful World Cup campaigns.

“I’ve got a new job which involves me mentoring, consulting and advising at Toyota Verblitz,” he said in a video on the All Blacks website.

“It’s not as a head coach, it’s more as an advisor, a mentor, and it requires me to be up there for five to 17 weeks a year.”

Toyota are coached by fellow New Zealander Simon Cron, who was an assistant at the New South Wales Waratahs for two years until the end of the 2019 Super Rugby season.

“The key thing is to go in and work with the people in the environment,” Hansen added. “The opportunity to help him (Cron) grow is something that really excites me.

“While it’s not a full-time coaching role, it’s a role that still allows me to stay in the game. It’s also a role that will allow me to have the family time that I want to have and I’m really looking forward to it.”

New Zealand media had reported earlier this year that Hansen was headed to Japan after the World Cup but he said on Monday he had not signed anything until after the tournament had ended.

He will link up with former All Blacks captain Kieran Read, who signed a one-year contract with Toyota earlier this year.

New Zealand Rugby are in the process of appointing Hansen’s successor with his former assistant Ian Foster and Canterbury Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson the leading candidates.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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