Steve Hansen has an offer on the table from New Zealand Rugby to remain as All Blacks head coach after next year's Rugby World Cup.

Hansen's contract runs out after the tournament in Japan but the Herald understands that NZR have told Hansen that, if he wants it, there is a two-year extension available for him to remain in charge of the national side.

The extension would take him through as All Blacks head coach until 2021 - presumably with the intention of handing over control two years before the 2023 World Cup.

However, Hansen has yet to indicate whether he will remain in charge after the World Cup, with a decision coming in the next three weeks.

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Ian Foster remains the favourite to succeed Steve Hansen, should Hansen step down after the World Cup. Photo / Getty
Ian Foster remains the favourite to succeed Steve Hansen, should Hansen step down after the World Cup. Photo / Getty

Hansen has always maintained any decision would be made with the best interests of the team in mind, and in consultation with his family given the demands attached to being away from home for such extended periods.

He told the Herald last year that he "was almost certain" he wouldn't be the All Blacks head coach after the 2019 World Cup, having earlier insisted he was "90 per cent certain" he'd be moving on after the Lions tour in 2017.

Hansen came in for some criticism after the All Blacks' loss to Ireland in Dublin, with some even calling for his head to roll before the World Cup.

It was also floated earlier this week that Hansen could take up a role as NZR's "Director of Rugby".

Speaking on the On The Ball AM show, former Ireland test player Alan Quinlan claimed to have details about NZR's succession plan should Hansen decide to stand down.

Quinlan revealed he had spoken to former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson, who claimed to have inside information on Hansen's future.

"The talk is that Steve Hansen is going up as a director of rugby and then there will be a possibility of a [vacant head coach] position."

If Hansen steps aside, assistant coach Ian Foster would be the heavy favourite to take over, with the other major contender - Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt - announcing he would 'finish coaching' after the World Cup.