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Japan proves that it is a powerful market, with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen changing careers



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If All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is added to Toyota Verblitz's payroll in Japan, he will not be without Kiwis for company during or after his workweek.

Reports from Australia have linked Hansen to Toyota, claiming he will take over as coaching director after the World Cup tournament in Japan.

The All Blacks captain and Kieran Read's No. 8 have already confirmed he will play in the Top League club in 2020 while Chronicle coach Simon Cron – another New Zealander – is inclined to be the lead coach.

Steve Hansen, who will step down as All Blacks coach after this year's World Cup, is linked to the Japanese Toyota Verblitz club.

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Steve Hansen, who will step down as All Blacks coach after this year's World Cup, is linked to the Japanese Toyota Verblitz club.

Hansen, who is in his eighth and final season as All Blacks coach, is considering a back office job at NZ Rugby and if he accepts a position at the HQ in Wellington, he will have to fit in with his club's commitments in Japan.

CONSULT MORE INFORMATION:
* Japanese companies of Hansen
* All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has the next job lined up
Steve Hansen will resign after the Rugby World Cup
* All Blacks will play at 10 at the Rugby World Cup

Given what he achieved with the All Blacks, Hansen could arguably get into a position in one of the glamor clubs in Ireland, England or France. So why choose Toyota?

Jordie Barrett is congratulated by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after the test against Japan in Tokyo last year.

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Jordie Barrett is congratulated by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen after the test against Japan in Tokyo last year.

1 The Japanese domestic competition in 2020

As the World Cup will be held in Japan later this year, the Main League, Japan's premier club tournament, will be postponed until after the New Year. Two modified seasons are expected to be contested, which means there is potential for coaches and players to double their salaries in a calendar year.

The lucrative financial packages offered, coupled with the fact that Japan is closer to New Zealand, mean that top-level identities in the rugby industry are happy to work in the Far East, rather than joining more northern clubs in Ecuador.

Former All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith worked as a rugby director at Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan this year.

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Former All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith worked as a rugby director at Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan this year.

2 Involvement of New Zealanders in Japanese clubs

Most of Kiwi's coaches and players are highly valued and well treated in Japan. Among those to earn a buck there, as coaching directors or as coaches, are former All Blacks Wayne Smith, Robbie Deans, Rob Penney, Greg Cooper and Mike Brewer. Todd Blackadder will also head to the Far East after finishing at the English club in Bath this year.

Tony Brown has been in charge of the Sunwolves during the Super Rugby season, and will help another former All Black and current Japan coach Jamie Joseph during the World Cup.

There are numerous New Zealanders, including several former All Blacks such as Dan Carter in Japan. Current All Blacks, Liam Squire, Ryan Crotty and Jackson Hemopo will also join the clubs after the World Cup.

Former Springboks and Sharks coach Jake White will be replaced by Steve Hansen at Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

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Former Springboks and Sharks coach Jake White will be replaced by Steve Hansen at Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

3 The Toyota Verblitz set-up

Former Springboks coach Jake White, who has been with the club for about three years, will leave after the World Cup. Currently, Toyota has a number of South Africans and New Zealanders in their books and Springboks quarterback Willi le Roux is expected to join after the global tournament.

The club's stadium is in the city of Toyota, about 28 km from the largest metropolis in Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture. Hansen and Read will take a good look at the floor when the All Blacks face Italy in their last pool game at the City of Toyota Stadium on Oct. 12.

Kieran Read (left) and Steve Hansen celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup after an All Blacks win in 2013.

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Kieran Read (left) and Steve Hansen celebrate with the Bledisloe Cup after an All Blacks win in 2013.

4 The Hansen-Read partnership

This began years before Read was named All Blacks captain by Hansen in 2016.

Hansen, the All Blacks forwards coach under Graham Henry at the time, was instrumental in changing flanker blind's Read from to the number 8 early in his international career in 2009.

When Richie McCaw retired after the 2015 World Cup, Read was promoted to captain.

Hansen was careful to manage his captain's workload in the last years of his career as a pilot, taking into account the attack his body received over nearly 11 years of testing.

Hansen is likely to encourage Cron to ease Read's workload if he realizes that one of his most loyal All Blacks is showing signs of fatigue.

Dan Carter, who plays for Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan, celebrates after the final of the 2015 World Cup.

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Dan Carter, who plays for Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan, celebrates after the final of the 2015 World Cup.

5 The location

Being based in Japan attracts New Zealanders for the simple reason that a direct flight from Tokyo to Auckland takes only about 10 hours.

This is a great deal for professional trainers and players who have spent countless hours spending time on long-distance flights, and in transfer rooms while on the international circuits and Super Rugby.

Instead of having to make a long trip from Europe, they can return home with family and friends after a night flight from the Japanese capital.

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