Steve Hansen says Ian Foster has 'head start' in quest for the top All Blacks job

As much as he dared, retiring All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has strongly endorsed Ian Foster to take over the now-vacant top job.

He talked about his assistant for the last eight years having a significant "head start" on his fellow contenders and hinted at an outstanding support crew being assembled.

After 16 years as part of the All Blacks coaching group, the last eight as its head, he now steps away to take up a director of rugby position with Toyota in Japan that he has made clear will carry a heck of a lot less stress than his last couple of roles.

It was notable that Foster stayed well clear of the media on Saturday in Tokyo as the head coach made one last appearance in the wake of their Friday night victory over Wales to secure third place at the tournament.

It has been an incredibly busy Rugby World Cup for Hansen as he has shouldered most of the press conference responsibilities himself, steadfastly preventing any of his staff, save Foster, from fronting for duty.

Asked how important it was that the new coach checks his ego at the door and surrounds himself with some top quality personnel, Hansen was unequivocal.

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