New Zealand Rugby have wished Jamie Joseph all the best as he continues his coaching career with Japan, seemingly taking himself out of contention to replace Steve Hansen in charge of the All Blacks.
Boasting a stellar coaching record at both domestic and international level, Joseph was considered among the contenders to take charge of the All Blacks, with Hansen standing down after this year's World Cup in Japan.
However, Joseph last night dropped the bombshell that he will stay on with the Brave Blossoms rather than look to lead the All Blacks forward into the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
In a statement from chairman Brent Impey this morning, Joseph's decision has been accepted by New Zealand Rugby, who will now continue their recruitment process to find the next All Blacks coach.
"We congratulate and wish Jamie well as he continues his work coaching the Brave Blossoms," Impey said.
"We respect his decision and his abilities as a coach.
"The All Blacks Head Coach selection panel will continue their shortlisting process, with interviews and negotiations to be conducted through November and early December.
"We are looking forward to announcing the next Head Coach of the All Blacks next month."
Joseph's withdrawal now sees the All Blacks coaching search down to a two-horse race, with current assistant Ian Foster and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson the two remaining candidates.