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Sport

All Blacks coaching staff reappointed to 2011

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand have reappointed head coach Graham Henry and his two assistants Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen until the end of the 2011 World Cup.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry (R) talks to injured player Rudi Wulf during the captain's run as they prepare for their international rugby test match against France in Dunedin, June 12, 2009. REUTERS/Anthony Phelps

The trio were under contract until the end of 2009 but the NZRU board announced Thursday they were extending their deal for another two seasons.

“Graham, Wayne and Steve are outstanding coaches. They have a formidable record and we hold them in very high regard,” NZRU chairman Jack Hobbs said in a statement.

“We agreed the time was right to consider the next two years, and the re-appointment reflects our confidence in them.”

The trio were first appointed to their jobs in 2004 and have built an imposing record, winning 57 of the 66 test matches they have been in charge of.

Under their guidance, the All Blacks have won the Tri-Nations four times, completed a 3-0 series win against the British and Irish Lions and twice achieved the ‘grand slam’.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to coach the All Blacks and the other coaches and I are delighted to be re-appointed,” Henry said.

“The coaching staff, management team and players are incredibly proud of their record and we look forward to taking the team through to 2011.”

The only thing missing from their resume is winning the World Cup. The All Blacks suffered a shock defeat to France in the quarter-finals of the 2007 tournament but are hosting the World Cup in 2011.

“It’s an exciting challenge and one I am humbled to be given,” Hansen said.

“As a group it’s going to be important that we work smart and hard and enjoy our rugby, and we look forward to the continued support of All Blacks fans.”

Reporting by Julian Linden in Sydney; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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