Steve Tew has given little away on who the next All Blacks head coach will be, saying only that Kiwis will know "before Christmas".
Speaking to Martin Devlin on the The Devlin Radio Show, Tew, the departing New Zealand Rugby CEO, said that a panel to decide on Steve Hansen's successor will be announced after the World Cup bronze playoff match on Friday.
The All Blacks will face Wales in that clash, after crashing out to England in Saturday's semifinal in Yokohama City.
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Tew, who will hand over the reins to Mark Robinson at the end of the year, admitted that no-one wanted to play in the bronze match but said: "it's just one of things you have to do at a World Cup".
"Nothing has changed from the original process, with the semifinal result no need to accelerate the decision, it is important that we focus on that, win or lose this was always the process," Tew said.
The panel will consist of four members who will interview candidates, but the NZR board will make the ultimate decision on who takes over from Hansen.
Tew wouldn't comment on who he thought should be appointed.
"We reach out to all of them, there is a group that self-selects themselves, all high performance coaches know exactly what we are doing," he told Devlin.
Tew wasn't sure whether current Wales and British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland would be able to apply, but insisted it would be "impossible to coach the All Blacks and the Lions in a four-year period".
Gatland signed a four-year deal to coach the Chiefs from next season after also agreeing to remain in charge of the Lions for the 2021 tour to South Africa.
"I don't know that he is going to apply for the job or not. He knows what our process is. He's made those decisions already, what he has in his contracts in terms of what he's going to do is entirely up to him," Tew said.
"I haven't actually contemplated this but I think to coach the All Blacks and the Lions in a four-year period would be impossible but that would be a call thathe has made or that he will have to make."
Tew was philosophical when asked about the All Blacks' crushing 19-7 defeat to the English, also using the opportunity to heap praise on Hansen and captain Kieran Read.
Both are expected to join Japanese side Toyota Verblitz next season.
"This is sport. The best team won and it wasn't us. I am very proud of this team and how they carry themselves," Tew said.
"They [Hansen and Read] can leave with pride after their time with the All Blacks.
"He [Hansen] cares deeply about the people around him, I think people should take a deep breath and let it go.
"Everyone is hurting. These are not easy days."