A search for the next All Blacks coach has been launched, within days of incumbent Graham Henry leading the team to Rugby World Cup victory.
Henry's contract is up and he is yet to confirm whether he will reapply for the head coaching job with the All Blacks.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew this morning told Newstalk ZB a contestable process for the role had been opened and word was being sent out to potential applicants.
His favourite for the job, current assistant coach Steve Hansen, was not a shoo-in, he said.
He was looking forward to receiving applicants, with the new coach expected to be appointed by Christmas.
In the aftermath of the Rugby World Cup final, Henry said winning the tournament had given him "peace".
He did not talk about his future plans, but told a journalist he would not consider rescuing the English team after their dire tournament performance.
Being reappointed to All Blacks head coaching role after the team's quarter final exit in the 2007 Rugby World Cup had been an honour, he said.
"I think there is far too much time in sport where people are replaced because they do not get the right result and quite often they are very good at what they do - I'm not saying I am - but quite often they are and they just need another chance and then you get good results.
"I think what they did in 2007 was a difficult thing for the New Zealand Rugby Union to do," Henry said, "but maybe it was the right thing to do."
Meanwhile, Henry and Hansen have been confirmed to coach the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham on November 2.
The pair will be joined by five members of the New Zealand squad they guided to the World Cup title, with Sonny Bill Williams, Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Piri Weepu and Adam Thomson in the touring club's squad.
The squad also includes South Africa's Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield and Wales' players Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny.