Who should replace Steve Hansen? A look at the All Blacks' best prospects

With the 2018 rugby season just two games away from completion, attention will quickly turn to the coming 12 months, in what could be Steve Hansen's final year in charge of the All Blacks.

Scott Robertson Coach of the Crusaders Source: Photosport

Naturally, speculation is rife over who could possibly replace a World Cup-winning coach, but fortunately New Zealand Rugby are blessed with a number of high-quality candidates to choose from.

Scott Robertson

Currently coaching: Crusaders

Why he'll get it: Natural progression. Having coached Canterbury, the Baby Blacks and now the Crusaders to various titles, the All Blacks job is the next natural step for the man affectionately known as Razor. Thanks to his time in charge of the NZ U20s side, Robinson already has experience with the next generation of players to come through and will have key relationships in place with the next core of All Blacks greats.

Why he won't get it: No international coaching experience. As we've seen with Steve Hansen and Sir Graham Henry before him, NZR bosses prefer a candidate with knowledge of the international game. Club success will mean very little when in charge of an international side, and although Robertson seems to have the magic touch as a coach, the All Blacks job could be coming too soon this time around.

Chances: 9/10

Joe Schmidt

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt Source: Photosport

Currently coaching: Ireland

Why he'll get it: You cannot deny that at the highest level, Schmidt has proven himself to be one of the best coaches on the planet. The Kiwi coach has taken Ireland to second in the world rankings, only behind the All Blacks, as well as securing the nation's first ever victory over New Zealand - not a bad CV for someone who's also earned the endorsement of Richie McCaw.

Why he won't get it: Despite his glittering reputation in Europe, Schmidt has never held a top job within New Zealand. Stints as assistant coach with both Bay of Plenty and Auckland will aid his cause, but a perceived lack of knowledge of the inner workings of Super Rugby could prove a costly hindrance to Schmidt's chances.

Chances: 8.5/10

Jamie Joseph

Former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph. Source: Photosport

Currently coaching: Japan

Why he'll get it: Scott Robertson has domestic experience only, Joe Schmidt has international experience only - Jamie Joseph has both. Somewhat of a journeyman coach, Jamie Joseph's crowning glory is undoubtedly his time with the Highlanders, aiding in the international rise of the likes of Aaron and Ben Smith. Joseph's Japan side also gave an inexperienced All Blacks side a bloody good game in Tokyo last month, and if that's the sort of performance he can get out of a supposed second-tier side, it'll be scary to see what he could do with the talent of the All Blacks.

Why he won't get it: Despite his glittering coaching CV, Joseph is seen as somewhat of an outsider for the All Blacks job. Not only that, but he'll also be seen as an attractive proposition for any European side, and as has become all too clear in recent time, New Zealand Rugby might struggle to match the lucrative offers Joseph could receive from elsewhere after next year's World Cup.

Chances: 7/10

Ian Foster

Ian Foster. Source: Getty

Currently coaching: All Blacks (assistant coach)

Why he'll get it: As we saw with Steve Hansen after Sir Graham Henry, promoting from within can prove to be a masterstroke in terms of the All Blacks. Foster is familiar with how things work in New Zealand, with stints with the Chiefs and Waikato giving him a good grounding in the provincial game, and also at Super Rugby level.

Why he won't get it: To be blunt, Foster's record as a head coach isn't flash. One Super Rugby final with the Chiefs is all Foster really has to boast in a top job, while every other contender for the All Blacks job will come to the table having tasted success elsewhere in their career.

Chances: 4.5/10

Dave Rennie

Former Chiefs coach Dave Rennie Source: Photosport

Currently coaching: Glasgow Warriors

Why he'll get it: Much like Scott Robertson, Rennie has achieved triumphs at both Super Rugby level with the Chiefs, and also boasts a perfect record with the U20 Baby Blacks - with three straight World Cup wins. He turned the Chiefs from perennial underachievers into a genuine force at Super Rugby level, winning the title in his very first season, before defending it a year later. Rennie has proven that he can galvanise a side in the direction he wants and needs them to go, and is well respected in his current role with Glasgow. 

Why he won't get it: Politics. If rumours are to be believed, Rennie's departure from New Zealand Rugby was acrimonious. What's more, it might be a task in and of itself to ask Rennie to walk away from Glasgow when he appears to be getting the right results at the right time. Much like Scott Robertson once again, it could be too soon for Dave Rennie to find himself in line for the All Blacks job just yet.

Chances: 4/10