You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Mains said he did not know whether the prestige of the All Black coaching job had slipped as candidates headed overseas instead of staying and fighting for the position.
But two of his preferred top candidates have moved on.
''A few weeks ago I was thinking we had an incredibly strong group of coaches, probably the best pool of All Black coaching candidates we have ever seen. Now the guts has been taken out of it and it has been totally diluted,'' he said.
''You would hope for every coach in New Zealand that coaching the All Blacks is still the pinnacle. But who knows? Perhaps Jamie [Joseph] and Dave Rennie were shoulder tapped, told they had no chance and so decided to look somewhere else.''
He said when he was appointed coach of the All Blacks in 1992, it was totally different as there was no money involved.
New Zealand Rugby did not pay a lot compared to other countries but he did not think the Australian Rugby Union would be able to gather together a big financial package to get Rennie.
Mains thought Rennie, Joseph and Scott Robertson were the top contenders.
With Rennie and Joseph gone, Robertson was his preferred candidate.
The Crusaders coach had proved himself at Super Rugby level and would offer something different, he said. All Black rugby had stagnated this year and a fresh approach was needed.
The argument of continuity in coaching was flawed, Mains said as the players offered continuity.
Ian Foster had been a superb assistant coach but his record as a head coach just did not stack up.