Photo: Hansen is top left, featured alongside fellow Canterbury players and management after the Black Ferns v NZ Barbarians game in Nelson last month.
Hansen, a former Canterbury player, transitioned to coaching in 2017 taking on a role with at the University of Canterbury and was soon recruited to work with Canterbury’s U18 girls’ team.
In the last two years, Hansen has gained some international experience. In 2019, she was part of the Black Ferns Development XV coaching panel that travelled to Fiji for the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship and was also been part of the New Zealand Barbarians coaching team that prepared teams for matches against the Black Ferns in 2019 and 2020.
The Rugby World Cup 2021 Coaching Internship Programme is an outcome of the comprehensive Women’s High-Performance Coaching review, with the report’s findings highlighting a significant lack of female representation at high-performance coaching level.
The ground-breaking Coaching Internship Programme aims to address the lack of female coaches at high-performance level across men’s and women’s rugby through the creation of quality deployment opportunities for aspiring elite female coaches in high-performance environments.
In line with the ‘developing inspirational leadership’ strand of the Women in Rugby 2017-25 strategic plan, World Rugby is committed to supporting the development of female coaches in the sport and has set an ambitious target of a minimum of 40 per cent of all coaches at Rugby World Cup 2025 to be women.
Hansen said she is delighted to be joining the Black Ferns coaching set up as part of the internship programme.
“This is an incredible opportunity that I am really grateful for. Everything that is involved in a World Cup campaign from the build up through to review will make this an amazing experience.”
New Zealand Rugby Head of Women’s Rugby Cate Sexton said: “Whitney has been a great contributor to rugby in New Zealand over a long period of time and she is an excellent recipient of this coaching internship. Rugby World Cup 2021 is going to be game changer for women’s rugby in our country and programmes such as this will ensure the legacy continues long after the tournament.”
World Rugby General Manager for Women’s Rugby Katie Sadleir said: “The Rugby World Cup 2021 coaching intern programme is a fantastic way to provide quality deployment opportunities to aspiring elite female coaches, enabling them to gain relevant experience at high-performance events. We are looking forward to following all Rugby World Cup 2021 Coach interns as they begin their individual journeys with their national squad management teams ahead of the World Cup next September. Congratulations to Whitney on her selection and we wish her all the best as she joins the Black Ferns management team.”