Rugby World Cup 2019: The key to deciding the next All Blacks coach

Newshub rugby correspondent John Day thinks the next All Blacks coach will be picked, not on credentials alone, but who has the best assistants behind them. 

Steve Hansen's eight-year tenure as head coach is over, after the All Blacks' third placing at the Rugby World Cup. 

Several candidates have been thrown into the contest to replace Hansen, with current assistant Ian Foster, former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie and Crusaders maestro Scott Robertson all in the mix. 

All three have had success in their own right, but that may only be a small piece of the puzzle for incoming New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Mark Robinson to solve, when the new coach is named in the coming months. 

"You have to have a good team behind you," Day told The AM Show. "You don't select just one person.

"We've seen this before, when Graham Henry was chosen over Robbie Deans, who didn't have his assistants already thought and planned, and he didn't get chosen because of it." 

Day added two key names would be vital in deciding the next All Blacks coach. 

Both Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown are off contract with the Japanese Rugby Union, and have been identified as the best assistant coaches available. 

Japan assistant coach Tony Brown with Kenki Fukuoka.
Japan assistant coach Tony Brown with Kenki Fukuoka. Photo credit: Photosport

Last month, an Otago Daily Times report claimed both Foster and Robertson had approached Joseph and Brown to be part of their coaching teams, if they were appointed as Hansen's successor. 

"I reckon whoever can get Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown on their side as assistants will be the next All Blacks coach," Day added. 

"I think Jamie Joseph would want to be a head coach, but Tony Brown is the key man in this. He got that Japanse attack humming, one of the best-attacking coaches in the world. 

"Can Ian Foster do that? It would be a huge feather in his cap. 

"Scott Robertson has done lots with the Crusaders, but he's also got rid of lots of assistants, so can he work well with others? I'm not sure."  

Veteran sports broadcaster Brendan Telfer feels Foster currently leads the race, with Hansen his biggest supporter. 

"NZR have used the continuity model for 12 years now and you can't argue with the results," he told The AM Show. "They've won two World Cups out of three using that model. 

Ian Foster with Steven Hansen.
Ian Foster with Steven Hansen. Photo credit: Photosport

"On that basis, Ian Foster must be in the frame. Hansen is pushing for him for a continuation of this model. 

"His insipid record with the Chiefs is well known and when he was first brought into the All Black coaching team, there were lots of questions asked about why Ian Foster, but his biggest advocate has always been Steve Hansen."

While admitting Robertson is the fan favourite for the role, Telfer says he might benefit from being an assistant, before taking over the reins in the future.

"If they bring in Scott Robertson, there is a coach will no international coaching experience, yes he coached the Under 20s a level well below the World Cup.

"If they're that keen on Scott Roberston who seems to be the people's choice you could bring him into the coaching panel and prepare him for the next cycle."

After the All Blacks' World Cup exit, Hansen publicly ensored Foster. 

"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."