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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 10:59 GMT
Hansen confirms departure
Wales coach Steve Hansen
Hansen will return to New Zealand next year
Wales coach Steve Hansen has confirmed he will be leaving his post when his contract ends after the Six Nations campaign.

But the Kiwi said he will not be applying for the vacant coaching role with New Zealand.

Hansen took over with Wales when Graham Henry resigned halfway through the 2002 Six Nations campaign.

And with Henry now a leading candidate to be appointed the next All Blacks coach, there is speculation that Hansen could become his assistant.

Hansen had always maintained he would return to his homeland to be with his family at the end of his contract in April.

He said last week he would "love" to stay in charge, but stressed that his family situation had not changed.

lost 33-37 v France
won 44-20 v Italy
lost 10-50 v England (Twickenham)
lost 22-27 v Scotland
lost 22-30 v Italy (Rome)
lost 19-34 v South Africa (Bloemfontein)
lost 8-19 v South Africa (Cape Town)
won 40-3 v Romania
won 58-15 v Fiji
won 32-21 v Canada
lost 22-30 v Italy
lost 9-26 v England
lost 22-30 v Scotland (Edinburgh)
lost 24-25 v Ireland
lost 5-33 v France
lost 10-30 v Australia (Sydney)
lost 5-55 v New Zealand (Hamilton)
lost 12-35 v Ireland
lost 9-43 v England
won 54-8 v Romania
won 23-9 v Scotland
won 41-10 v Canada (RWC)
won 22-20 v Tonga (RWC)
won 27-15 v Italy (RWC)
lost 37-53 v New Zealand (RWC)
lost 17-28 v England (RWC)

"It's a tough (decision)," Hansen told BBC Sport. "It's family versus rugby - and really it's a no-contest."

Despite hugely encouraging performances against England and New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup, Hansen has struggled to get the best out of Wales during his time in charge.

He has won only nine of his 26 Test matches, and brought a 10-match losing run to an end with a much needed victory over Romania a year ago.

Wales also suffered record defeats to England (10-50) and New Zealand (3-55) and a hugely embarrassing whitewash in the 2003 Six Nations under Hansen.

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive David Moffett has said the process to find Hansen's successor will start before Christmas.

The post will be advertised worldwide, but a campaign to appoint a Welshman has been gaining momentum.

Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins and Dragons coach Mike Ruddock will be seen as the leading candidates.

But Ruddock has distanced himself from the possibility of taking the reigns this season, telling BBC Sport: "I'm just interested in the Dragons at the moment.

"Obviously I'd like to coach Wales one day but there are no thoughts on that at the moment because I'm really enjoying myself at the Dragons and looking forward to the Heineken Cup. That's all that's on my mind."

Hansen, a former coach with Canterbury Crusaders, was brought to Wales by Henry in 2001.

And with Henry now a front runner for the All Blacks head coach role, Hansen refused to rule out the possibility of renewing their partnership.

But Hansen did stress he would not break his contract with Wales if the call came from Henry.

"At this stage my whole focus is on making sure we perform as good as we can in the Six Nations," Hansen added.

"And as I said from day one, we'll leave the game in better shape than we found it."

Hansen's backroom staff of skills coach Scott Johnson and fitness coach Andrew Hore are contracted to Wales beyond this season's Six Nations.

Moffett says he expects both to honour their contracts.

Wales coach Steve Hansen
"I'm happy where I am at the moment"

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