7 Nov 2019

Wallabies to get All Blacks leftovers

10:11 am on 7 November 2019

A high-octane battle to be next All Blacks coach is under way and Australian rugby could be waiting to scoop up their pick of the leftovers, in a repeat of the Robbie Deans coup 12 years ago.

Robbie Deans while coaching the Wallabies.

Robbie Deans Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The trans-Tasman rivals are chasing successors to Michael Cheika and Steve Hansen after both fell short of their targets at the Rugby World Cup.

Replacements are expected to be announced by Christmas but while New Zealand Rugby's main contenders are relatively clear cut, mystery surrounds the Australian process.

It was widely believed Rugby Australia's director of rugby Scott Johnson had Dave Rennie in his sights to succeed Cheika and become the second Kiwi coach of the Wallabies after Deans.

However, Rennie is among a handful of prominent names invited by NZR to apply for the vacant All Blacks post and he said he was "humbled" by the approach.

Others certainly in the mix are incumbent All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster and highly successful Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, while Japan's head coach Jamie Joseph is likely to put his name in the hat.

It means at least three high-quality head coaches will be left without an international post.

One of them could then have their head turned by Johnson.

Deans was famously unveiled as Wallabies coach on December 14, 2007, just seven days after losing out to Graham Henry in a high-profile All Blacks race.

07092016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. New Zealand Rugby will not take action against individuals but has cautioned the Chiefs after investigating allegations players abused a woman performing as a stripper. Chiefs coach Dave Rennie.

Dave Rennie Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Whoever crossed the Tasman could come as a team, bringing his nominated assistants for the New Zealand job with him.

Conjecture surrounds the identity of each coach's preferred assistants with one exception.

Highly-rated attack coach Tony Brown has committed to keep working with Joseph, having turned down approaches from both Foster and Robertson.

Joseph is weighing up a lucrative offer to remain with Japan and Brown indicated the Wallabies probably weren't on his radar, in an interview with Sky Sport.

Brown also rated Foster and Robertson as the "leading contenders" to get the All Blacks back on track after their disappointing bronze medal return in Japan.

Hansen and star playmaker Beauden Barrett have both called for Foster's promotion to the top job in the name of continuity.

However, other commentators believe it is time for a clear-out and the change of approach that the charismatic Robertson would bring.

A NZR appointment panel unveiled on Wednesday comprised chairman Brent Impey, incoming chief executive Mark Robinson, high performance boss Mike Anthony, former All Blacks coach Graham Henry and former Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu.