Wayne Smith - Graham Henry is best in the business
NZPA 16 Apr 2010 Getty Images
Henry and Hansen, who reverts to his favoured role as forwards coach, have swapped jobs despite the All Blacks' five unbeaten tests in Japan and Europe, while Smith retains the defence role he took on in last year's reshuffle.
Smith took a novel approach in explaining the switch, heaping praise on Henry and saying attack was his logical role.
"I likened Graham to the kumara; a bit wrinkly and old-looking on the outside but very sweet on the inside. The kumara doesn't walk around telling people how sweet it is," Smith said.
"Graham's very humble and gives everyone else credit, but strategically I think he's the best in the world. He works hard at it and he's great at it. It's a great position for him to be in the coaching sense. It's logical that Graham be that person and it'll align the team brilliantly."
The reshuffle was confirmed after an extensive post-tour debrief, and with input from the senior player group who were supportive of the changes.
Smith said the coaches challenged themselves to refresh and improve, like the players, and they needed to seek any possible edge in a tough year where Wales and Ireland visit in June, followed by the Tri-Nations then a grand slam tour leading into next year's World Cup.
Henry stressed another review would follow the Tri-Nations to decide whether the roles would continue.
"Is this forever? I don't know," Henry said.
"People asked why have we changed the roles after such a successful tour? There's no point in going through this review process and not taking any notice of the information we're getting. We think it's a way forward in improving what we're doing both for the team and as coaches."
Hansen was seen as better suited to the forwards role, particularly with the spotlight on the breakdown and the struggle for turnover possession under the new law interpretations in Super 14.
"Steve has the skills at the breakdown to use on attack and defence," Henry said.
The initial switch appeared to work well on last year's tour, with the lineout improving and the All Blacks' counter-attack outstanding in their season-highlight win over France in Marseille.
At the time Hansen expressed a desire to return to the forwards role.
"I enjoy coaching forwards and it's a great challenge," he said today.
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