New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson was determined not to be drawn into discussion about the next All Blacks head coach, as he fronted media in Auckland on Friday.
Even the appointment of Allan Bunting as the new director of rugby for the world champion Black Ferns was confirmed, the shadow of the All Blacks coaching question still loomed large.
On Tuesday, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson – considered by many as a contender for the All Blacks head coach role should it become available – broke rank to say an announcement was due in “the next few days”.
However, NZ Rugby quickly reacted with a one sentence statement, saying it “is continuing to have internal discussions, but an announcement about the All Blacks Head Coach or process is not imminent.”
With the national body taking the unprecedented step of moving to secure the next All Blacks coach before this year’s World Cup, the ongoing saga threatens to overshadow anything taking place in New Zealand rugby circles over the coming weeks.
On Thursday, All Blacks captain Sam Cane even took the step of calling for resolution of the coaching selection to avert any off-field distraction from the coming season.
Having now secured the future of one national coach, Robinson was asked about the second on Friday, but opted not to divulge any update on where the process is at.
“We’re here to celebrate Allan and the Black Ferns and talk a lot about how wonderful the opportunity is for women’s rugby over the next sort of while,” said Robinson.
“We’re really excited about that. That’s where our focus is today.
“Just listening to everyone talk, and the questions coming in, we know there’s massive momentum building around the game in this area.
“We’re excited to focus on that.”
Robertson, as well as Japan’s Jamie Joseph and incumbent Ian Foster are expected to contend for the All Blacks coaching job, as and when the process begins later this year.
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