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New Zealand Rugby
NZRU set to overlook Gatland and Deans
ESPNscrum Staff
October 27, 2011

The New Zealand Rugby Union look set to ignore the likes of Warren Gatland and Robbie Deans when it comes to choosing who will succeed Graham Henry as All Blacks coach.

After Wales' impressive showing at the 2011 World Cup, Gatland's name was mooted as a possible successor to the victorious Henry. But NZRU chief executive Steve Tew has hinted that he and the rest of the selection panel will favour a coach who has plied his trade in New Zealand in recent times rather than looking abroad.

"Warren Gatland and Robbie Deans are eligible," said Tew. "That is a decision for our board. It hasn't been discussed and frankly it would be big shout, wouldn't it?

"The key thing is we have a list of New Zealand coaches that are available who we have written to. We'll see who expresses an interest and if people have existing contracts then we will start a conversation with them to see what they would have to do, realistically, to be available and eligible.

"Anyone coaching in New Zealand is eligible. If you have coached in New Zealand for more than three years your eligibility lasts for a further five years. That recognises the fact that going overseas is quite helpful and not a bad thing and helps the development."

However, regardless of Deans and Gatland's credentials, the favourite to fill the void expected to be left by Henry is his assistant Steve Hansen. "Steve will be a very strong contender," Tew said. "But we will sit down and discuss who the strongest candidate is for the next two years.

"The successful candidate will be the combination of everything. Graham will make his announcement in due course. He is just taking the time to enjoy what he has achieved and I'm sure he will share it with everybody soon.

"We made a decision two years ago that we would have a full contestable and transparent process."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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