Having had eight years as an 'apprentice' under Graham Henry, Steve Hansen feels he is ready to step into the most prized job in New Zealand.
Henry has made no secret of the fact that he covets becoming the next All Black head coach, and he feels he is now ready.
The 52-year-old, having coached Wales for two seasons before becoming Henry's understudy, feels he could keep up the momentum Graham Henry generated in 103 Tests with the All Blacks.
"People must understand coaching is a completely different role," Hansen told the New Zealand Herald.
"What is... seen from me as assistant coach is not what happens when you drive the bus.
"It's making sure people understand that you've got the qualities to drive the bus, that is the key thing.
"There are many areas. You have to deal with various off-field things, work on the strategy, planning and bringing a team together, getting the culture right and all those things."
The job could take its toll. It was unrelenting. Henry mentioned that issue when he stood down this week and fellow assistant Wayne Smith had also noted the effects when he revealed he was leaving his role.
Hansen had tasted the tasks with Wales, watched Henry for eight years and was keen to take the All Blacks through their next challenges.
He was not sure if his knowledge of the New Zealand Rugby Union and their practices would be of help or hindrance in his job application. They all knew each others' strengths and weaknesses.
"So obviously you've got to go in well-prepared. When you walk in, you have to be on the money," Hansen said.
Hansen knew he would never get a better chance to be All Blacks coach.
"I believe I'm ready for it, I'm excited by the thought of it but I have to get it first. There are no assumptions from me that is the case. I have to go and present well and convince the panel I can do that and I'm confident I can do the right thing.
"If not, it'll be hugely disappointing. I've been part of a team for eight years and I've always been a believer that the team comes first and the individual comes second."
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