ASK ME ANYTHING: All Blacks manager Darren Shand

What's it like to be Steve Hansen's boss? All Blacks manager Darren Shand answers your questions on NBR Radio and on demand on MyNBR Radio.

All Blacks manager Darren Shand is next up in the AMA chair.

Click the NBR Radio box above to hear his answers to your questions.

Questions thrown at him include what's it like to be Steven Hansen's boss, why the All Blacks include a psychologist in their support squad, who are the All Blacks' biggest World Cup competition and how to retain key players being lured by big-money clubs in Europe.

To the former, Mr Shand says he might be in charge of Mr Hasen on paper but, "The power of many in leadership is greater than the power of one. When you’ve got the opportunity to assemble the best people in the business together, you’d be crazy not to use all those great minds together.

On taking a head-shrinker to the World Cup in England, he says, "When you look at preparing a player for those sorts of environments, the mental side of the game is huge. We’ve had [psychologist] Gilbert Enoka involved with us since 2004. It’s a part of the game we think is hugely important – coping with pressure, dealing with pressure, having your players ready to make the great decisions. You can have all the talent and physical strength and power and tactical awareness, but at the end of the day the brain drives everything so it’s a big focus in our programme and something we take very seriously.”

Mr Shand took charge of the All Blacks in 2004 after four years with the Crusaders, during which time the team made every Super 12 final and won the competition twice.

He served as manager of the Canterbury Air New Zealand NPC side from 1999-2003 and also managed New Zealand A during their tour of France, Wales and Romania in 2000.

He holds a Bachelor of Physical Education from Otago University and previously worked as marketing manager for AJ Hackett Bungy.

See previous installments of Ask Me Anything by clicking the AMA tab on our menu bar, or bookmarking www.nbr.co.nz/ask-me-anything.

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