All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Photo: AFP
The All Blacks "family" are in mourning after it was revealed head coach Steve Hansen's father, Des, died this morning.
Hansen senior, a respected figure in the Christchurch rugby fraternity and a former coach of the Marist club seniors in the 1980s, had been seriously ill.
It is still uncertain when, or if, Steve Hansen would travel to Brisbane for Saturday night's test against the Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium. He didn't attend this morning's practice session at the Linwood club.
Passed away ... Des Hansen in 2003. Photo: Kirk Hargreaves
All Blacks team manager Darren Shand read a short statement after training.
"The All Blacks family extend our deepest sympathies to Steve and his family at this very difficult time. Steve and the family thank everyone for their messages and support and ask for privacy at this very challenging time."
Des Hansen's passing would be also be keenly felt by All Blacks defence coach Aussie McLean and several All Blacks - especially those from Canterbury.
McLean, who was introduced to the All Blacks coaching set-up by his good friend and former Marist club-mate Steve Hansen this season, has in the past noted he had enjoyed discussing tactics and strategies with his old mentor.
If Hansen does not join the All Blacks in Brisbane it would leave his assistant Ian Foster to guide the team along with the rest of the management crew.
Shand said the All Blacks had continued their build-up as normal. Tomorrow is a rest day before naming the team on Thursday morning and flying out from Christchurch in the afternoon.
"The All Blacks have continued their preparations for the test match against Australia as Des Hansen would want them to do.," Shand added. "We have been dealing with this on a day-by-day basis and will update you further when we have got any more news."
First five-eighth Dan Carter also extended his sympathies.
"It is very sad news to hear of the passing of Des. He was a great man and obviously the feeling in the camp is of support for Steve.
"There are some pretty tough times ahead, so our thoughts are with him and his family."