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Hansen tasked with retaining World Cup in 2015, opens door to Sonny Bill

In other news, Paddy Wallace has yet to decide his 2015 holiday plans.

Sonny Bill Williams scores his second try against Ireland in the 60-0 thumping.
Sonny Bill Williams scores his second try against Ireland in the 60-0 thumping.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

THE NEW ZEALAND Rugby Union have extended the contract of Steve Hansen and his coaching staff up to and including the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Hansen, who took over as head coach from Graham Henry in 2011, has been tasked with retaining the World Cup trophy won at Eden Park two years ago.

12 wins have come in Hansen’s 14 games in charge to date, and he has claimed the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup. He oversaw the Three Test sweep against Ireland, including the 60-0 triumph in Waikato, last June.

Speaking to the NZ Herald, Hansen admitted that he may have to replace some of the veteran 2011 World Cup winners, such as Richie McCaw, Conrad Smith and Tony Woodcock, in his squad.

He said, “That’s one of the tough challenges we’ve got in our selection process over the next couple of years… there’s some guys we can pencil in but probably not as many as before because there’s more question marks around will they or won’t they.”

Hansen, however, did open the prospect of international returns for flanker Jerome Kaino [playing in Japan] and Sonny Bill Williams [boxing/Rugby League].

He confirmed to the newspaper that anyone currently playing overseas would be welcomed back if their form warranted it.

“I think we start making [the big selection calls] now,” he added, “if that’s what we need to make. If the player’s form is suggesting it’s time then it’s time..”

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Patrick McCarry

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