New Zealand netball legend Waimarama Taumanu will help to decide the next All Blacks coach as the search for Steve Hansen's replacement begins in earnest.
Former England and Silver Ferns coach Taumanu, who is also a High Performance Sport New Zealand director, will be one of five figures on the panel to determine Hansen's successor.
NZR chairman Brent Impey, incoming CEO Mark Robinson, coaching legend Sir Graham Henry and NZR head of high performance Mike Anthony will be alongside Taumanu as they develop a shortlist of candidates and conduct interviews in the coming weeks.
New Zealand is hopeful an appointment will be announced before the Christmas break.
Current attack coach Ian Foster had long been earmarked as the next in line but New Zealand's semi-final exit has clouded that clear succession plan somewhat.
NZR have already spoken to a number of potential candidates about applying for the jobs, something that is a fairly open secret in the rugby world.
Aside from Foster, Japan coach Jamie Joseph and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson are believed to be in the mix while the frontrunner to be the next Wallabies coach, Dave Rennie, said last week he had been approached by New Zealand as well.
Impey did not mention any specific names in a New Zealand Rugby statement on Wednesday morning.
“This is a hugely exciting time for New Zealand Rugby. We know that the All Blacks and New Zealand have been served well by exceptional coaches, so we are well aware of the importance of the task ahead," he said.
“We believe we have an excellent group of people on the panel, balancing the experience of winning high performance teams and leadership with external perspective and experience.
“This is an official employment process, and therefore it’s confidential. We are looking forward to announcing the next head coach of the All Blacks next month."
Potential New Zealand assistant Tony Brown iterated his loyalty to Joseph.
Brown told Sky TV's "Breakdown" programme in New Zealand that he had turned down approaches to link up with current All Blacks assistant Ian Foster and triple Super Rugby champion coach Scott Robertson from the Canterbury Crusaders.
"I made a decision I'm going to stay with Jamie. If he applies for the All Blacks, I'm in. If he stays with Japan, I'm in," he said.
"It felt right to stick with Jamie and what we've been doing for the last eight years.
"It was a massive decision. One hundred per cent I want to coach the All Blacks tomorrow. But it didn't feel right floating between three different coaching teams where I don't get a say.
"Jamie puts together a great team and we're all trying to make the team better. That's what I like about Jamie... Everyone's trying to make the team better.
"We both want to coach the All Blacks but we both want to do it at the right time. Whether the right time is now, I hope it is or it may not be, it may be in four years."
Meanwhile, All Blacks fullback Beauden Barrett is backing Foster to take over from Steve Hansen, arguing that the role needs "continuity".