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So Steve Hansen is heading to the exit door. That opens up a fair swag of contenders to take on the role. Rugby writer Steve Hepburn looks at who is a chance, who is a fair bet and who is the equivalent of a maiden lining up in the Melbourne Cup.
All Black assistant coach
The good: Been the assistant coach since 2012 and done little wrong. A nice balanced persona, never gets too carried away. Has the support of some serious heavies in New Zealand Rugby and has inside knowledge.
The bad: Never won anything with the Chiefs and at times the side went backwards. Not a new breed coach, perhaps too conservative
Odds: Has to be favourite.
The good: Has the Midas touch. Coached the Crusaders to two Super Rugby titles in two years. Players seem to love him and he has a colourful personality.
The bad: Still relatively inexperienced and has not seen any tough times yet. Does the rest of the country want someone from red and black land back in charge again?
Odds: Warmish and only getting better.
The good: Led Ireland on a march up the world rankings which climaxed with a win over the All Blacks last month. Solid operator who earns the respect of his players. Said he is giving up coaching, but can he turn the ABs down?
The bad: He has given up coaching and the horse may have bolted if he changed his mind. Was a failure in NZ when he was here. His limited game plan for Ireland will not cut the mustard here.
Odds: Not great.
Each way chances
The good: the former Chiefs mentor is a straight shooter and knows his stuff. Well respected by the players and the public. Has been through the system.
The bad: Many believe Wayne Smith had more to do with the Chiefs titles than Rennie. Perhaps too honest for his own good. Out of sight and out of mind in Edinburgh.
Odds: Longish and getting longer.
The good: Turned an ailing Highlanders franchise around, leading it to the title in 2015. A hard taskmaster who has softened somewhat, becoming a more rounded coach. Made Japan more credible.
The bad: His credentials will live and die on how well Japan does at the World Cup, and it could go pear-shaped. Been away for a fair while.
Odds: Not the favourite but not at the back of the field.
The good: Highly experienced coach who has done the job at the top level for many years. Made Wales a real contender. Broad shoulders to take any criticism.
The bad: Been away too long. Not universally popular and respected. Career may be likely to continue in northern hemisphere.
Odds: Back of the field and drifting.
The good: Helped turn Scotland around. Vastly experienced coach in Europe and knows the game well.
The bad: Never been heard of in NZ. NZ is not Europe.
The good: Vastly experienced coach. If his Hurricanes win the title next season in a splendid fashion, his stocks will rise considerably.
The bad: Under the radar and seen as an assistant and not much more. Been around the block one too many times.
Odds: Better off backing the steward.
The good: Well liked by the players and has the miles on the clock. Always fields a solid forward pack.
The bad: Had a star-studded Hurricanes side for years and could not win anything. Too old and low profile.
Odds: A roughie.