• Line for Hansen’s Successor Stretches from Auckland to Christchurch

    We can only guess what is going on in the boardrooms and the back rooms over the prospect of selecting a successor for departing All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

    Hansen is calling time as coach of the Kiwi national team at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup competition in Japan and it would seem obvious that the number of hands in the air are numerous, with the hands unraised holding the dirks ready to plunge into the backs of rivals.

    Nah. It was not Game of Thrones, but Lord of the Rings filmed in New Zealand, so everything about selecting a new coach for the All Blacks will be on the up-and-up, conducted in the clear light of day with the degree of transparency that only sports can supply.

    The formal process of picking a new leader for the world’s best football squad will officially begin after World Cup, but it might be time for a little bit of maneuvering to begin, as there are nearly as many legitimate candidates for the position as there are hopefuls for the U.S. Democratic Party for the 2020 party presidential nomination.

    NZ Rugby could save us the trouble and simply give the job to Ian Foster. He has paid the dues, serving as Hansen’s assistant for the past eight years.

    Yes, if the All Blacks had floundered had been inconsistent, the argument could be made for a change of direction, but that has not been the case.

    The players like and respect Foster and Foster could simply take a business-as-usual route and do okay.

    Other names connected with the vacancy include Warren Gatland, Joe Schmidt, Scott Robertson and Dave Rennie.

    Gatland presents complications in the form of an agreement to coach the British and Irish Lions in 2021 and the Chiefs through 2023, but of late, it seems as though having a job does not preclude another job simultaneously.

    Schmidt will be leaving his job with Ireland after World Cup and while he professes to want family time away from football, a plum such as coaching the All Blacks could be fruit too low hanging for Schmidt to resist.