All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s decision to stay on with the team until after the 2019 World Cup in Japan has now thrown up another question in the rugby-mad country. Who is going to replace him?

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said yesterday that Hansen, whose existing contract expires at the end of next year, has re-signed until after the 2019 World Cup.

NZR CEO Steve Tew says: “At the end of the day he’s the best coach in world rugby. It was one of the easiest recommendations to the board.”

The decision has also made NZR’s long-term planning much easier, with Hansen’s replacement no longer needing to be appointed less than two years out from their defence of the Webb Ellis trophy.

That planning has been important for the All Blacks’ success in recent years after independent reviews found the loss of knowledge and inconsistency in coaches’ tenures had hampered previous World Cup campaigns.

Tew says: “We have kept the guys we consider worthy of being on the list fully informed.”