Rugby: Dave Rennie not in contention for All Blacks head coach role after World Cup

With the next All Blacks coach likely to be decided before September’s Rugby World Cup, Newshub can reveal Dave Rennie won’t be on the short list of candidates.   

Rugby Australia sacked the former Wallabies coach last month with a year remaining on his contract, opening up the possibility of the former Chiefs mentor joining Ian Foster, Scott Robertson and Jamie Joseph on a short list for the New Zealand job.

But sources close to the situation have told Newshub Rennie will not be considered for the position, when Foster’s contract ends after the World Cup, although NZR would welcome him back into coaching, preferring a Super Rugby-type role first.

Newshub understands a decision on the next All Blacks coach could come within the next two months, after chief executive Mark Robinson revealed NZR was prepared to break with tradition and appoint someone before the World Cup.

NZR is aware it must keep up with the rest of the world and can't afford to sit on its hands, as happened in 2019, when Foster and Robertson were the only two candidates to replace Sir Steve Hansen.

But that approach also comes with immense risk, with the national body acutely aware of the potential to destabilise the All Blacks World Cup campaign by appointing the next coach before the team have touched down in France. 

NZR is likely to make a move before the World Cup, which may count against Foster, as he could only be judged on his performances up to September's global showpiece. At the end of the 2022 test season, his win rate sat at 67 percent.

That would make Robertson and Joseph prime contenders for his job. 

Robertson was almost rushed into the role last August, after a horrid start to the All Blacks season saw them win just one of their opening four games, but a great escape against the Springboks at Johannesburg ultimately saved Foster.

Dave Rennie and Ian Foster.
Dave Rennie and Ian Foster. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Crusaders mentor has won six Super Rugby titles in six seasons, since taking over in 2017.

He also has an already established, and highly successful relationship with current All Blacks forwards coach Jason Ryan, who has been a revelation since replacing John Plumtree in July. 

It’s understood their partnership would form part of NZR’s decision. 

But NZR has immense respect for Joseph and righthand man Tony Brown, and the pair remain strong contenders to take over from Foster, while current assistant Joe Schmidt shapes as another potential candidate, although sources have indicated the former Ireland mastermind isn’t keen on another head-coaching role.

With Rennie now unlikely to feature on the short list, the decision shapes more and more as a two-horse race to the top.