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Aaron Mauger says now 'not the time' for him to apply for All Blacks job - 'My focus is on the Highlanders'

Former All Black Aaron Mauger is the latest coach to confirm he has declined New Zealand Rugby's invitation to apply for the All Blacks role.

Mauger was one of 26 Kiwi coaches approached by the governing body about becoming Steve Hansen's successor but the former midfielder, much like Warren Gatland, told Stuff his focus is on the job he already has.

"Now's not the time for me," Mauger said.

"My focus is on the Highlanders, 100 per cent, and making sure we create a good environment and the right conditions to get the best out of this team.

"My focus and all my energy is going into the 2020 Landers campaign and maybe one day down the track I might consider further up the chain."

One member of the Highlanders management who could be part of the All Blacks set-up in the near future though is assistant coach Tony Brown, who is expected to be part of Jamie Joseph's set-up if, as expected, the Brave Blossoms coach decides to apply.

Highlanders coach Tony Brown Source: Photosport

Joseph's biggest competitors for the job are current All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson who both approached Brown to be part of their coaching groups but he declined to remain loyal to Joseph.

No matter what happens, Mauger expects Brown to be with the Highlanders next season.

"Regardless of what happens we're expecting Browny to be with us for the full season," Mauger said.

"Just having him around through the planning phase and having his energy, and his eye on how he'd like to drive certain parts of our game ...There's a lot of excitement and it's great to have him back on board."

Mauger became the latest of the 26 potential candidates to confirm he'd backed out of the race to succeed Hansen, with Chiefs coach Gatland also stating he'd pulled out due to his Super Rugby and British and Irish Lions commitments.