Something's gone horribly wrong in the quest to find a new All Blacks coach. The world is awash with brilliant, proven New Zealand coaches and yet the shortlist to replace Steve Hansen is likely to have just two names on it.
From trumpeting to the world there were 26 genuine candidates for the job a few weeks ago, New Zealand Rugby now has a PR disaster on its hands as the narrative since has been dominated by big names ruling themselves out.
It's fast becoming the job no one really wants and in an age of unprecedented coaching riches, it's embarrassing how many of the best candidates have actively said no to even applying.
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The job clearly doesn't hold the allure NZR thinks it does and they have made a significant miscalculation by delaying the process until after the World Cup.
Hansen announced his intention to stand down in December last year but NZR wanted to wait 11 months before starting the process to replace him.
That was a giant mistake – a decision guided by a somewhat pompous belief that the All Blacks coaching job carries such allure that every prominent New Zealand coach would put their career on hold until the end of the World Cup to have an unencumbered stab at landing the job.
But it was patently silly to believe that career coaches can do that: turn down offers from elsewhere to gamble everything on winning the All Blacks role.
NZR knew that Warren Gatland, Joe Schmidt and Jamie Joseph were coming off contract after the World Cup. The national body must have known that all of them would make future plans long before the tournament finished.
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They must have known, too, that the likes of Dave Rennie and Vern Cotter, currently coaching European clubs, would also be looking to make decisions about their respective futures long before their current contracts run out in June next year.
And yet despite what they knew, NZR still insisted on waiting until now to start the process and effectively steered many of the best candidates into the arms of the All Blacks' rivals.
Wales didn't muck about after Gatland told them he would step down after the World Cup. By June this year, they had their successor – former Auckland coach Wayne Pivac.
Ireland, too, moved to lock in Andy Farrell as soon as Schmidt confirmed his time at the helm would end in Japan.
The French went to the World Cup with their next coach, Fabien Galthie, already working as part of the management team. England tied in Eddie Jones for another two years long before the World Cup.
Even Australia, it would seem, conducted some kind of secret process to identify Michael Cheika's successor as Rennie may already have agreed terms, which is why he's reportedly not interested in the All Blacks' job.
So there was this mad scramble for coaching talent earlier in the year everywhere except New Zealand.
NZR sat back and watched the rest of the world help themselves to their best coaching properties – all the time convincing themselves there would still be this grand All Blacks process at the end of the year.
But the grand process looks destined to be not so grand. A long-list of 26 is likely to be reduced to just two serious contenders, with Scott Robertson and Foster going head to head unless Cotter, who was shortlisted for the job in 2011, is persuaded to apply again.
If the process to replace Hansen had begun in January last year, how different things may have been.
Gatland would most likely have been a serious contender. He could have put discussions with the British and Irish Lions on hold until the All Blacks process had concluded.
He signed with the Lions in June not so much because it was his burning desire, more because they got to him quicker than the All Blacks did.
It was much the same with Joseph, who has obviously decided that it would be bad form to have negotiated an extension with Japan, but not sign it until he had seen whether he got the All Blacks job or not.
What would that look like? To have negotiated in supposed good faith to the point where Japan put a deal on the table – to then apply for the All Blacks job?
Again, Rennie, who was linked with Wales earlier this year, would likely have thrown himself at the All Blacks if he hadn't already been tapped up about the Wallabies post.
Robertson and Foster will be able to make good cases to win the job but that doesn't mean the process has been well run.
It will be decidedly odd that no one with previous international head coach experience made the shortlist when seven of the 20 teams at the recent World Cup had a Kiwi in charge while Cotter spent four years coaching Scotland.