Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won't be in the running to succeed Steve Hansen as All Blacks' head coach, New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey revealed today.
Schmidt, 54, is now off contract after a long and successful stint with Ireland that saw him win Six Nations and Grand Slam glory, achieve the world's number one ranking as well as beat the All Blacks twice.
At one point, Schmidt was considered among the bookies' favourites to take over from Steve Hansen, following his 16-9 victory over the All Blacks in Dublin last year.
However, Schmidt stunned the rugby world last November by announcing he was stepping away from coaching after the World Cup, instead choosing to spend time with his family.
With New Zealand Rugby now in the process of finding Hansen's replacement - and 26 coaches approached to apply for the role - Impey made it clear that Schmidt's position had not changed nearly a year on from his announcement.
"Joe has made his position very clear," Impey told media.
"We've kept in close contact with Joe. His plan for family reasons is to step away from coaching.
"He's returning to New Zealand to live at some point in the future. We see him as very valuable, but in the interim, Joe's made his position very clear."
Outgoing NZR CEO Steve Tew says that Hansen's replacement will ideally be announced before Christmas.