All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has put his hand up to succeed Steve Hansen as head coach of the world champions.
Hansen, who coached the All Blacks to a second successive World Cup win last year, signed a contract extension in August, which will have him in charge through to the 2019 tournament in Japan.
But former Waikato Chiefs stalwart Foster was open about his designs on the top job when it eventually becomes vacant.
Asked if he saw himself as an All Blacks head coach, Foster told Newstalk ZB: “I do from an ambition side, and I guess that’s part of the whole thought process for me.
“I love what I do, I love this group and it’s just a matter of thinking out, first and foremost, I want to do the best job I can with the role I’ve got right now, and secondly what do I need to do to make sure I can present myself and put my hand up and say I want to be a head coach for the All Blacks.
“That’s part of the next conversation, really, to see what can I do in order do that.
“Do you need to go somewhere else to do that or can you do it by staying within? That’s all part of a conversation that’s a little bit ongoing at the moment.”
Foster has precedent on his side, with Hansen stepping up to the head role after the 2011 World Cup after being an assistant coach to Graham Henry for seven years.
A formidable side under Henry, the All Blacks have only grown more dominant during Hansen’s tenure.
“There’s a strong logic to that (succession) and it’s one that’s worked well for the All Blacks,” said Foster, seen as one of New Zealand’s finest players to never earn an international cap.
“But to be the head coach of the All Blacks you’ve got to be the right person and the best person should get that job, whether it’s from inside or outside. I understand that.”
Foster’s contract expires in 2017 after the British and Irish Lions tour.
The All Blacks, who thrashed Australia in their opening two matches of the Rugby Championship, host Argentina next Saturday.