And then there were … two?
Jamie Joseph's decision to stay with Japan has ruled him out of the All Blacks race, a decision, interestingly, that prompted New Zealand Rugby to issue a statement offering their congratulations.
Dave Rennie, another who was approached by NZ Rugby to apply to be Steve Hansen's replacement, is looking increasingly likely to put his lot in with Australia.
All of which probably leaves Scott Robertson and Ian Foster as the remaining front-runners to be All Blacks head coach in a process which appears to be shedding candidates by the week.
Robertson, the Crusaders coach with the perfect three-from-three Super Rugby record and a reputation for engaging players of all ages and staff and supporters alike, may now have the inside running, although a potential weakness is the lack of a strong running mate (and more on this shortly, including a solution that may keep everyone happy).
I would suggest forgetting about the suggestions made in some areas of social media that the interviewing panel have already made their decision because it's almost inconceivable that Sir Graham Henry, Brent Impey, Waimarama Taumaunu, Mark Robinson and Mike Anthony would go into any presentation with anything other than open minds given their collective knowledge and character.
• Rugby: Jamie Joseph out of All Blacks head coaching race after re-signing as head coach of Japan
• Former New Zealand Rugby CEO David Moffett: Steve Hansen stayed on two years too long as All Blacks head coach
• Premium - Chris Rattue: New Zealand Rugby's baffling search for an All Blacks coach
• Rugby: Listing the 26 potential All Blacks head coach options to replace Steve Hansen
Joseph had been in talks with the Japanese Rugby Union straight after the World Cup during which he took the Brave Blossoms to historic victories over Ireland, Scotland and a first quarter-final. He didn't decide to stay in Japan because of doubts about the process, rather he has obviously received an excellent offer and a reassurance the union matches his vision and ambitions for the game in Japan.
Assuming the candidate's presentation to the interviewing panel regarding his vision for the All Blacks is taken at face value – in other words, they set aside the continuity value that Foster, an assistant coach for the past eight years, brings – then Robertson may have an edge.
He presents like few others and the panel may find it difficult not to be swayed by his enthusiasm.
NZR responds as Joseph drops out of coaching race
'Didn't care about the All Blacks': Scottish star's bizarre spray at SBW
Down to two? Another contender drops out of All Blacks coaching race
However, Tony Brown's decision to align himself with Joseph robs Robertson of a powerful ally. It's understood that the man known as Razor may have tapped up Blues head coach Leon MacDonald to be his main assistant, but New Zealand Rugby may feel it more prudent to leave MacDonald where he is; in the midst of a rebuilding role at the Blues in his second year in the job.
This is where a compromise may come into play. Could the panel and/or New Zealand Rugby board convince Robertson and Foster to work together, with Robertson the head coach and Foster remaining an assistant?
Looking at it in a positive light, Robertson could bring the new direction that the All Blacks probably require – a need that their semifinal defeat to England probably highlighted - while Foster could bring an element of continuity.
The question is whether they could work as a team. But, given Foster's experience as Hansen's No2, and the fact he could be out of a job otherwise, it might be one worth pursuing.