New Zealand Rugby boss Tew joins post-World Cup exodus

Wellington (AFP) –


Long-time New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Steve Tew announced Wednesday he will leave his role at the end of 2019, citing a need for "new blood" after his 12 years at the helm.

Tew took over in the wake of the All Blacks' disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign and has since seen the team lift the trophy twice, in 2011 and 2015.

He has also improved the organisation's finances and helped persuade several high-profile players to remain with the All Blacks rather than accept lucrative overseas offers.

"After much reflection, I've decided that this is the best time for me to make way for someone else to lead New Zealand Rugby into the future and a new phase for our national game," Tew said.

He will join a growing list of departures from New Zealand after the World Cup in Japan, including All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and captain Kieran Read.

Also leaving are Ryan Crotty, Ben Smith, Liam Squire and Nehe Milner-Skudder

There are also question marks over whether code-hopping star Sonny Bill Williams will stay, while prop Owen Franks is joining Northampton.

Sam Whitelock, considered by many to be Read's heir apparent as skipper, will have a playing sabbatical in Japan after the World Cup, although he will still be available for the All Blacks.