All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen has worked with experts on his media relations skills in a bid to sell himself as a potential successor for Graham Henry after the World Cup, local media reported on Sunday.
The former Wales coach Hansen, who has endured fraught relations with New Zealand media in the past, has been Henry's assistant since the 64-year-old took the reins of the national team following their World Cup failure in 2003.
Henry has not announced his intentions following this year's World Cup on home soil, but Hansen said he hoped to take over after the Sept. 9-Oct. 23 tournament.
"The key priority is winning the World Cup," Hansen was quoted as saying by New Zealand Herald (www.nzherald.co.nz), citing an interview with NZ Rugby World magazine.
"That's the reason we all put our hats back in the ring... But then after that... do I want to coach the All Blacks as the head coach?
"Yeah, I do. It's not something you set out to do when you are coaching but the further you go along and the more rewards you get, the more you start to say 'yes, that's an ambition'."
Hansen said he had worked on his media relations skills after being involved in a spat with local journalists, who blamed him for the performance of the All Blacks forwards during their mediocre 2009 season.
"There are people that I go to and talk to, particular after 2009 when I was fighting the media," Hansen said.
"Rightly or wrongly, I had a gutful of a lot of things and I thought I would take them on. I found out the media are mightier than the individual and they fought back and it wasn't pretty.
"But I have learned out of that. I think over the last 12 to 18 months, I have been working with the media. For me, the team always comes first and if it is better for the team, then that is what you have to do."
New Zealand, winners of the inaugural World Cup in 1987, are favourites to win their second title on home soil.
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