New Zealand Rugby
Hansen faces competition for All Blacks post
ESPNscrum Staff
November 27, 2011

Current New Zealand assistant coach Steve Hansen reportedly faces compeition from at least two other candidates in his bid to become the next All Blacks boss.

The Sunday Herald reports that applications to succeed Graham Henry, who stood down following his side's Rugby World Cup triumph, closed on Friday and while Hansen is considered a strong favourite to step into the role, the newspaper understands that as least two other coaches have signalled their interest.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by a panel including New Zealand Rugby Union high performance manager Don Tricker during the week beginning December 12 and two will then be interviewed by the NZRU board. It is thought that a decision is likely to be made by December 22.

Hansen, who took charge of the Barbarians last week alongside Henry, has long coveted the role and has received the backing of his former colleague. Ex-All Black John Kirwan has also been linked to the post although the newspaper reports that the former Japan coach does not meet the qualifying criteria.

The NZRU has previously stipulated that potential candidates, "Must have coached one of the following in the last 12 months - Super Rugby for a New Zealand franchise, Heartland/ITM Cup, All Blacks, a New Zealand national team or completed a minimum of three years cumulatively in any of these roles. This 'qualification' to remain valid for up to five years from the date the coach ended their involvement with the New Zealand team."

Several high-profile coaches in New Zealand, including Todd Blackadder, Jamie Joseph and Colin Cooper have ruled out applying for the job. Hansen, who has also coached Wales, has been assistant All Blacks coach since 2004 and is thought to have recruited former Chiefs coach Ian Foster and current All Blacks technical coach Mick Byrne as his assistants.

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