New Zealand Rugby has launched its process to find a replacement for Steve Hansen as the next head coach of the All Blacks.
The search for a new coach follows Hansen's decision earlier this year to stand down from the role.
NZR has already commenced the process by inviting applications from a small group of coaches familiar with New Zealand's professional rugby environment.
NZR Chairman Brent Impey said that shortlisting, interviews and negotiations would be conducted through November and early December, with a head coach to be announced prior to the Christmas break.
The appointment panel includes NZR Chairman Brent Impey, incoming (from January 2020) NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson, NZR Head of High Performance Mike Anthony, former All Blacks Head Coach and NZR life member Sir Graham Henry and former Silver Ferns Coach and High Performance Sport New Zealand director, Waimarama Taumaunu.
"This is a hugely exciting time for New Zealand Rugby. We know that the All Blacks and New Zealand have been served well by exceptional coaches, so we are well aware of the importance of the task ahead.
"We believe we have an excellent group of people on the panel, balancing the experience of winning high performance teams and leadership with external perspective and experience."
NZR has already written to a number of coaches familiar with New Zealand's professional rugby environment, to outline the appointment process and inviting them to apply.
"This is an official employment process, and therefore it's confidential. We are looking forward to announcing the next Head Coach of the All Blacks next month," he said.
BROWN IS OUT
All Blacks coaching contender Tony Brown revealed last night he turned down approaches from both Ian Foster and Scott Robertson to join their respective coaching teams as both vie to replace Hansen.
The former All Blacks first-five and Japan national assistant coach has created a strong reputation for his work with first the Highlanders, where he teamed up with Jamie Joseph to help them to a Super Rugby title, and then with Japan, also under Joseph, where he was part of the coaching team who took them to a historic quarter-final appearance at the Rugby World Cup.
That led to interest from both Foster and Robertson for Brown to link up with them as they take their shot at the All Blacks head coaching role.
As first reported by the Herald, both Foster and Robertson approached Brown to form an integral part of their coaching team - but Brown revealed tonight that he has turned them both down, and will stick with Joseph, regardless of his next move.
Brown told the Breakdown on SKY that if Joseph stayed with Japan, he would remain as an assistant coach.
"It just didn't feel right to be the guy who's floating around between three different coaches to potentially get the job. It felt right to stick with Jamie and what we've been doing for the last eight years.
"It was a massive decision. 100 per cent I want to coach the All Blacks tomorrow. But it didn't feel right floating between three different coaching teams where I don't get a say."
Brown said that if Joseph applies for the All Blacks' job, he will be on his coaching team, though said he wasn't certain that Joseph would apply.
"I made a decision I'm going to stay with Jamie. If he applies for the All Blacks, I'm in. If he stays with Japan, I'm in.
"Jamie puts together a great team and we're all trying to make the team better. That's what I like about Jamie...everyone's trying to make the team better.
"We both want to coach the All Blacks but we both want to do it at the right time. Whether the right time is now, I hope it is or it may not be, it may be in four years..."
BARRETT CALLS FOR 'CONTINUITY'
All Blacks fullback Beauden Barrett appeared to endorse Foster's bid.
The All Blacks arrived back in Auckland from the Rugby World Cup in Japan yesterday where they finished third.
Asked whether he would like to see Foster take over from Hansen as head coach, Barrett said he was hoping for some 'continuity going forward'.
"I've really loved worked with Fozzie over the last eight years," Barrett said.
"He's a very intelligent coach. A great team man and hopefully we can have some continuity going forward," he added.
Barrett said Hansen's record with the team, 93 wins from 107 tests, speaks for itself.
"Steve's legacy is a very strong one. His win percentage speaks for itself. I think the biggest thing with Steve is the way he makes his players' feel. Trust and confidence. We know he 100 percent has our back. As a player that's all you can really ask for. He's taught me a lot along the way and I'm very lucky for that," the All Blacks fullback said.