Cape Town - The New Zealand Rugby Union said Tuesday that coach Steve Hansen had been reappointed to the end of 2017, with administrators vowing to stick with him regardless of results at next year's World Cup.
All Black coaches generally live or die on their World Cup results and NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the contract extension was an unprecedented show of faith in Hansen, who has a forged an impressive win rate of 90 percent since 2011.
"Steve is the first All Blacks coach to be given a contract extension beyond a Rugby World Cup, which demonstrates how much faith... (we) have in him," he said.
Tew said Hansen's record of 38 wins from 42 Tests made him the best coach in world rugby and the board unanimously backed his reappointment to 2017, when the British and Irish Lions will tour New Zealand.
He said retaining Hansen was important to provide continuity after next year's World Cup in England, when a number of veteran players are likely to leave and take up lucrative offers from clubs in Europe and Japan.
Hansen said he was thrilled to stay in the job.
"I asked myself if I still had the hunger and desire to continue in the role, which I do, so the decision to continue became a no-brainer," he said.
The 55-year old was initially appointed for a two-year term in late 2011 after serving as assistant coach under Graham Henry for eight years, including the All Blacks World Cup victory on home soil in 2011.
He was granted a two-year extension in April last year, giving him the chance to become the first All Blacks coach to lead the team to World Cup victory outside New Zealand in England next year.
Hansen, a former policeman who coached Wales to the quarter-finals of the 2003 World Cup, said he had given no thought to whether he wanted to stay on beyond 2017.