The former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he is incredibly humbled to be receive a knighthood for his services to rugby.
The two-time World Cup winner has been named a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year honours.
Hansen – who coached the All Blacks for eight years before stepping down following this year’s World Cup – said he is stunned to get this level of recognition.
“You don’t set out to do your sport and work in an area that you’re passionate about expecting something like this to happen,” Hansen said.
“I’m very grateful for the many players and management staff who have supported us over the years, the award is as much theirs as it is mine and I’m very thankful and grateful for the love and support I’ve had from my family.”
Hansen said the intense spotlight shining on the All Blacks was the one consistent feature of his 16 years with the team.
“You’ve got to learn to live with not only having your own family but having a family of fans.
“The All Blacks are New Zealand’s team, the public feel like they own it too and that’s the way it should be, so you get to share a lot of your life with people who you don’t know.”
Hansen said helping players be better was the highlight of the successful career that has earned him a knighthood.
“I’ve always enjoyed, even when I was coaching club rugby, the reaction of people when they achieve the things they want to achieve and knowing that you’ve played a small part in that makes you feel good and that’s never changed.”
Hansen was an assistant coach with the All Blacks for their World Cup victory in 2011, before becoming head coach in 2012.
He led the All Blacks to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup, becoming the first team to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.
He also guided the All Blacks to consecutive victories at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Rugby Championships and oversaw their retention of the Bledisloe Cup from 2012 to 2019.
Hansen was named IRB Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
In 2012, Hansen was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.