Rugby World Cup 2019: Sonny Bill Williams urges NZ Rugby to select 'Pacific Islander or Māori' as new All Blacks coach

With the All Blacks' hopes of a Rugby World Cup three-peat dashed by England on Saturday, attention has quickly turned to the question of who will succeed Steve Hansen as the next head coach.

While his hopes likely took a significant blow in Yokohama, the early favourite still appears to be Ian Foster.

Foster is widely expected to take the step up from assistant coach to claim the mantle, the same way Hansen did before him in the wake of Sir Graham Henry's departure.

But according to star midfielder Sonny Bill Williams, New Zealand Rugby should be prioritising more than just coaching ability.

"One thing that I'd probably put to NZR is it would be good to see a Pacific Islander or Māori in the coaching system that would have a bit of influence," said Williams.

When asked of the attributes that would make Foster a stand-out candidate for the position, Williams was reluctant to offer any specific endorsement and simply noted that there would be "a few guys putting their hand up".

"Because the way the game is going… there are a lot of Island boys and Māori boys that play for the All Blacks.

"I'm just thinking how we can get a lot more out of those boys, and I know that there's a bit of space there for that growth."

Of the All Blacks current coaching and management crop, all are of European descent. 

Williams noted there were a few coaches who would be available after stepping away from their roles post-World Cup.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Sonny Bill Williams urges NZ Rugby to select 'Pacific Islander or Māori' as new All Blacks coach

Jamie Joseph - a former All Black of Māori heritage - is one such example who would fit Williams' mould.

The off-contract Joseph is fresh from leading Japan to its greatest ever showing at a Rugby World Cup but remains coy on what his future beyond the tournament holds.

Ex-Chiefs coach Dave Rennie is another, but he appears to be close to a lock to claim the Wallabies job recently vacated by Michael Cheika.

Other leading candidates are the Crusaders' Scott Robertson, outgoing Wales coach Warren Gatland and ex-Ireland boss Joe Schmidt, although all are Pakeha.