THE CON­TENDERS

NZ Rugby World - - Inside Job -

IAN FOSTER

Was head coach at the Chiefs – pro­moted af­ter a brief stint with Waikato – be­tween 2004 and 2011. The Chiefs made the play­offs in his first year in charge and only one other time, when they reached the fi­nal in 2009 and fell to a huge de­feat against the Bulls.

Was a sur­prise choice as Hansen’s as­sis­tant in 2011 but has proven him­self as­tute, an­a­lyt­i­cal, in­tel­li­gent and a lit­tle bit in­no­va­tive.

The All Blacks play­ers re­spect him and the at­tack­ing game has been enor­mously suc­cess­ful since he ar­rived. Has in­grained knowl­edge of the All Blacks, their cul­tures and sys­tems and has a depth of in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence few other coaches could match.

Has a strong claim to take over as head coach.

JOE SCH­MIDT

Was in­volved with Bay of Plenty in the early 2000s be­fore tak­ing a role as Blues as­sis­tant in 2005 and 2006.

Headed to Cler­mont to work with his old Bay of Plenty mate Vern Cot­ter, where the pair were hugely suc­cess­ful.

Sch­midt was head hunted by Le­in­ster fol­low­ing his ex­ploits in France and af­ter help­ing them fi­nally win the Heineken Cup, he was pro­moted to the Ire­land job in 2013. Has been a rev­e­la­tion with the Ir­ish – tak­ing them up to num­ber two in the world at one point and of course plot­ting their first win in 111 years over the All Blacks.

Is renowned for his at­ten­tion to de­tail, metic­u­lous plan­ning and abil­ity to keep teams play­ing within their sys­tems.

Con­tracted with Ire­land un­til 2019.

VERN COT­TER

Made a name for him­self with Bay of Plenty in the early 2000s and had a brief stint as an as­sis­tant coach with the Crusaders un­der Rob­bie Deans in 2006.

Hav­ing played in France, he was lured there as a coach by Cler­mont and be­came a hugely loved, re­spected and ad­mired fig­ure in the Top 14.

His suc­cess there landed him a role as head coach of Scot­land and af­ter a slow start, he trans­formed them into a to­tally dif­fer­ent team.

The Scots were un­lucky not to make the semi­fi­nal of the 2015 World Cup and yet strangely, they de­cided not to re­new Cot­ter’s con­tract, which meant he moved to Mont­pel­lier af­ter the Six Na­tions this year.

Has test ex­pe­ri­ence and great knowl­edge of overseas rugby.

WARREN GAT­LAND

Warren Gat­land can trace his roots in the in­ter­na­tional game back to 1998 when he was ap­pointed coach of Ire­land when he was just 34.

He was set­tling into the job when a po­lit­i­cal coup took place within the union and Gat­land was moved on. He headed to Wasps in London where he won the Heineken Cup and English Pre­mier­ship three years on the trot.

A brief stint back with Waikato in 2006 didn’t open the door to any job he fan­cied in New Zealand so when Wales came call­ing af­ter the 2007 World Cup he jumped.

He’s been there since and also coached the Li­ons twice in 2013 and of course on their re­cent 2017 visit to New Zealand.

Has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge and enor­mous global re­spect.

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