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Hansen and All Blacks eyeing exciting challenge

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Lynn McConnell     14 Dec 2018     Getty Images

Part of the All Blacks coaching structure since returning from Wales to join Graham Henry and Wayne Smith in 2004, Hansen shared in the 2011 success before taking over as head coach in 2012 and seeing the side win the 2015 World Cup – the first time the trophy had been successfully defended.

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Outlining his departure from the role after next year's Japan event on Friday, Hansen said the first goal in the year would be retaining the Bledisloe Cup.

"The Bledisloe will be the first challenge because that's the one we have to get done. It will be a real bummer if we let them have that back," he said.

"I don't know if it's [the World Cup] the biggest [challenge] but it's certainly one of the most exciting. We're the only team in the world that can do it.

"It is really, really exciting. We've been a group that, by and large from a management point of view, have been together for a long time. There's a playing group there that have won a couple of World Cups and there's some guys that will go to the tournament who haven't won any," he said.



Doing the job successfully would mean everyone would walk away with a prize.

"But more importantly we've done something that we've set out to do, it's not going to be easy. It's probably going to be the toughest World Cup, it'll be my fifth one so I'd say it's going to be the toughest one from a competitive point of view.

"The Northern Hemisphere have really come to the party since the last one, got themselves in good nick. I think Australia and South Africa are both very capable of winning it if they get their stuff sorted and, of course, I think we're very capable of doing the same things.

"We've just got to make sure we don't make the mistake of wanting it too much and getting outcome focused. We've just got to get the processes right and if we do that we're in with a hunt.

"Having played the two games in Japan I think as a destination it's going to be superb so it will be great," he said.