Rugby World Cup 2019: Steve Hansen backs assistant Ian Foster as All Blacks successor

Departing All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has backed assistant coach Ian Foster to take over the national side, when he leaves after seven years in charge.

Hansen guided the NZ rugby side for the 107th and final time in the bronze-medal match against Wales - his career record was 93 wins, four draws and 10 losses.

Amid speculation over who will take his place, Hansen himself has weighed in, suggesting Foster is the natural replacement. 

"Fozzie's been there for the last eight years," he says. "He's got a good headstart over everyone else. 

"He's [Foster] known for a long time that I'll be leaving and he's put together a very strong team.

"If that team comes together, they will have a lot of ingredients that are needed and it will be up to the panel to go through the candidates."

Foster has been Hansen's assistant with the All Blacks throughout his entire tenure and is tipped as the favoured successor, former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, departing Irish coach Joe Schmidt, and outgoing Japanese coach Jamie Joseph remain the other potential choices. 

New Zealand Rugby is set to announce their coach appointment process in the coming weeks.