Former All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen has made a blockbusting code switch to become a high-performance consultant for Canterbury Bulldogs in the NRL.
Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill has called the signing a "massive coup" for the NRL strugglers, who have missed the playoffs over the last four years and repeatedly been in the battle for the 'wooden spoon'.
Over the years, Hansen has built a strong relationship with incoming Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett, who has previously spent time with the All Blacks camp.
Hansen will work with Bulldogs coaching and management staff, as well as the players' leadership group.
The length of the deal hasn't been disclosed.
"To be able to have someone with Steve's record and background work with our staff and players will be a great asset to our club," says Hill.
"He was responsible for being a major driving force behind one of the most successful sporting brands in history, and his knowledge and thoughts on areas such as leadership, high performance, preparation and team ethic will be invaluable to our club."
Hansen coached the All Blacks to their 2015 Rugby World Cup victory in England and has built up an imposing coaching record in rugby.
In 107 games with the All Blacks, he won 93, along with the 2015 World Cup and six Rugby Championship crowns.
COVID-19, and travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand will determine how much time he spends in Sydney with the team .
Currently, Hansen could fly to Sydney and base himself there, but if he wants to return to New Zealand, he'd have to go into managed quarantine for two weeks and pay for it.
"There's a lot of things we can do over zoom," Barrett tells the Daily Telegraph. "Ideally, when he has our camps and when we're doing our preparation, it would be beneficial for him to be here with us.
"That's something we'll work out.
"When I got the job at Canterbury, I just thought he'd be ideal, and he was keen to help out and try something new... the aura that he carries and all the experience he's had.
"It's fantastic for us from a leadership position and to help make sure we get off on the right foot in areas around culture.
"It's well known that the All Blacks are the benchmark in that regard.
"He's a knockabout, but there's no bullshit. Everything's straight down the line."
Hansen isn't the first former international rugby coach to switch to league in the last year, with former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika appointed as an assistant coach with Sydney Roosters.
According to reports in Japan, Hansen will continue his role with Japanese rugby club Toyota Verblitz in Japan as a coaching consultant.
Hansen's appointment overshadows news that the Bulldogs have parted ways with club great Steve Price - who previously captained NZ Warriors - after just 12 months as the club's head of football.
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