Outgoing All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen believes his assistant Ian Foster is well placed to take over the top job.
After 16 years coaching with the team, the last eight of those in charge, Hansen’s final match at the helm was Friday night’s win over Wales in the Rugby World Cup bronze medal match.
Foster has already expressed his interest in moving into the head coach role, while another former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson are also names being mentioned.
Hansen said it would make sense in several ways to promote his long-term assistant.
“I guess with hindsight because Fozzie has been there for the last eight years and done a fantastic job and understands what happens. He’s got a good head-start on everybody else on what’s needed.
“He’s known for a long time that I’ve been leaving and he’s put together a very, very strong [support] team.
“If that team comes together they’ll have a lot of the ingredients that are needed.”
As for his own decisions, Hansen wasn’t having any second thoughts about stepping down from the job.
Waking up this morning with his All Blacks’ career over, he was very much at peace with his decision.
“It’s not strange, but it is a good feeling.
“It’s ironic actually. Normally I take my hard drive and give it to one of the analysts. I didn’t even bother last night, it’s someone else’s problem now.
“But, no, it’s a good feeling. Tash [my wife] and I were talking about it this morning and it’s been a good ride but it’s one that we both knew was time to finish.”
That ride has also been a hugely successful one.
The New Zealand side may have only managed bronze at this World Cup, but they did win the 2015 tournament and the eight years Hansen has been in charge have the most wins in the team’s history.