All Blacks assistant Ian Foster has reaffirmed his desire to succeed Steve Hansen as head coach after the Rugby World Cup, ensuring Crusaders boss Scott Robertson will have competition for the role.
Foster, in his eighth season as a Hansen deputy, told reporters in Auckland on Wednesday that he was keen to step up.
"If you're asking me what happens after (the World Cup), then we'll have to wait and see," the former Chiefs coach said in comments published by New Zealand media.
"I'm absolutely committed to this team. This is my eighth season, and I'm keen to carry on. I'm excited about an opportunity to put my name in the ring as a head coach - but that's the future."
Foster has stiff competition in the form of former All Blacks loose forward Robertson, who guided the Crusaders to a third straight Super Rugby title on Saturday with a clinical 19-3 victory over the Jaguares.
Foster, a former fly-half and Waikato stalwart who played over 100 games for the province, has ignored potential job offers elsewhere to stay in New Zealand rugby, as Hansen did as an assistant to former All Blacks coach Graham Henry.
Hansen, who has been involved with the All Blacks for 16 seasons, eight as head coach, is stepping down after the global showpiece in Japan. His successor has big shoes to fill.
The All Blacks have won 85 of their 96 Test matches since he succeeded Henry in 2012.
Crusaders coach Robertson earlier this week confirmed he would seek an interview for the All Blacks job despite having already committed to the south island franchise for two further years.
"I've done what I can do so then hopefully I'll have a great interview and if they want someone, they know who they're getting with me," the 44-year-old told reporters in Christchurch on Monday at a civic reception for the team.
"The process is in December so I've got to prepare as best I can to put myself forward.
"I'm a pretty optimistic person - if you have a crack I'd like to think you have a chance."