Will Hansen stay or go?

Steve Hansen. Photo: Getty Images
Steve Hansen. Photo: Getty Images
Steve Hansen is to announce his future today, and all indications point to him riding off into the sunset.

Hansen (59) will outline at a press conference this morning whether he wants to coach the All Blacks after next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

He keeps his cards close to his chest but it would be a major surprise if he commits to coaching the All Blacks after next year's tournament.

Hansen loves coaching and coaching the best team in the world is an obvious attraction. But he has been involved with the All Blacks since 2004 and that is a long time.

It is a all-encompassing position for which total commitment is needed. Hansen knows what has to be done to coach the team and it is a big job.

After the last World Cup he indicated he might look to step aside in 2017 for the good of the team, but changed his mind and committed to go through to
2019.

There was talk a few weeks ago of him moving into a new director of coaching position at New Zealand Rugby, over the head of the new All Black head coach, but that has been quickly hosed down by the powers that be.

Positions as director of coaching are popular overseas but it is hard to s how it would work in the New Zealand Rugby setup, where the All Black coach has always been his own man and totally accountable.

Hansen's departure will lead to a year-long debate over who is going to take over in the hot seat.    

The smart money will be on his assistant, Ian Foster.

Foster has been with Hansen since 2012 and the All Blacks have mainly tasted success. He is popular with the players and has enough "good bloke" qualities to endear himself to the New Zealand rugby public.

There are plenty of other quality candidates out there - Dave Rennie, Jamie Joseph, Warren Gatland, John Plumtree and Scott Robertson - but Foster has the head start in the race.

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