The surprise candidate to become next All Blacks coach

The surprise candidate to become next All Blacks coach

Is this the man to replace Steve Hansen?

Warren Gatland is being considered as the successor to New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, it has been revealed.

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The Wales boss, who is seeking to guide the British and Irish Lions to glory against the All Blacks, has been talked-up as a potential replacement should Hansen stand down after the 2019 World Cup.

Steve Tew, New Zealand Rugby's chief executive, confirmed that Gatland was among the contenders, along with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and Montpellier's Vern Cotter, though Hansen's assistant Ian Foster remains the favourite.

"In my view Ian Foster is sitting there as a very strong candidate when Steve does finish, but there'll be others," Tew told The Guardian.

"Joe is sitting in Ireland and we'd like to have him back. Vern is coaching at a very high level and you wouldn't rule Gatty [Gatland] out either.

"You'll have to ask Warren what he wants to do next. We don't know what Steve's doing yet, but what we will do is manage the transition very well.

"We'll be sitting down later this year to work out the process."

Gatland has been in charge of Wales since 2007, but his Lions squad have endured an underwhelming start to the tour of his home country.

The first of three Tests against the world champions is two weeks away and the Lions' last match ended in a loss to struggling Super Rugby side Blues.

Next up is Saturday's clash with the table-topping Crusaders.

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