Ian Foster has reportedly asked Hurricanes coach John Plumtree to work alongside him, should he win the race to succeed Steve Hansen as All Blacks boss.
According to 1 News, Plumtree has aligned himself with Foster's coaching staff and could take on the role of assistant.
That would be a massive blow for the Hurricanes, who could be hunting for a new head coach heading into the 2020 Super Rugby campaign.
The Hurricanes are already without star loose forward Ardie Savea for most of the season, after knee surgery.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has indicated the strength of the entire coaching unit would play an essential part in selecting Hansen's replacement later this month.
Plumtree boasts an impressive coaching CV, which includes stints in Wales, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand. He was part of the Hurricanes coaching team that won the 2016 Super Rugby title.
He replaced Chris Boyd at the helm of the Hurricanes last season, leading them to second in the New Zealand conference, before they were eliminated in the semi-finals by the eventual winners, the Crusaders,
The report added that current defence coach Scott McLeod was expected to remain in the All Blacks setup, regardless of who gets the top job.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is the other leading contender to succeed Hansen, but it's unclear who he's recruited to work alongside him.
The first interviews in front of NZR's appointment pane are due to take place this week, with an official announcement expected on December 12.