(Reuters) – New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brett Impey has said they have identified 26 homegrown coaches to replace outgoing All Blacks boss Steve Hansen, who stepped down after their third-place finish at the World Cup in Japan.
Hansen won 86% of his matches in charge and was named World Coach of the Year four times.
“We wrote to 26, whether they be international coaches, current New Zealand Rugby coaches, whether they be the All Blacks, our Super (Rugby) teams, clubs overseas, the whole bunch,” Impey told local media.
“I’m sure if you sat down, you’d be able to write the whole bunch of them out. We believe that we’ve covered the field in terms of coaches that will have the skill set to do the job.
“This is a specialist job, you don’t put an ad up on ‘Seek’ to try and find the next All Blacks coach. All of them have been in our process, from time to time. Some have coaches overseas for a long period, others for a shorter period.”
Current All Blacks assistant Ian Foster has thrown his hat into the ring for the top job and has received the support of fullback Beauden Barrett.
Former Wales coach Warren Gatland and Japan coach Jamie Joseph have also been named in the media as potential successors to Hansen.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)