WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has received a knighthood in New Zealand's New Year honors list, despite the team's early exit at this year's Rugby World Cup.
He becomes Sir Steve Hansen after being named a Knight Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
"I'll be forever grateful for the talent we've been able to coach, and grateful for the awesome management and back up staff that we've had," Hansen said. "You can't do this by yourself so this honor is very much theirs as well."
Hansen was a member of the All Blacks coaching team from 2004, succeeding Graham Henry as head coach in 2012.
Under Hansen's coaching, the All Blacks won the 2015 World Cup, won the Rugby Championship six times and the Bledisloe Cup in every year from 2012. He was named World Rugby's Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
New Zealand won more than 85 percent of matches with Hansen in charge.
But their form more recently has been poor. They lost the No. 1 world ranking for the first time, lost twice to Ireland — something they hadn't done at all in more than 110 years — suffered a record loss to Australia this year and were beaten by England in this year's World Cup semifinals.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports