By Chris Jones
Eyes On Events Radio 5 live rugby reporter in Christchurch
Steve Hansen's record as New Zealand head coach may never be bettered, according to the man who appointed him.
Since taking over in 2011, Hansen has a win ratio of 91%, and guided the All Blacks to World Cup success in 2015.
Steve Tew, chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), has left the door open to Hansen continuing in his post after the 2019 World Cup.
"I doubt his record will ever be mirrored, and long may it continue," Tew told Eyes On Events Radio 5 live.
Hansen is contracted until the end of the next World Cup in Japan in two years' time, and is expected to step down following the tournament.
Vern Cotter, Joe Schmidt and Warren Gatland have all been tipped to replace him, but Tew says it is not a foregone conclusion that Hansen will relinquish the role.
"Steve has gone from strength to strength," added Tew, who was appointed in 2011.
"If Steve had an appetite to keep going, and was sure he had the group of people around him and the players were motivated by that, then it's obviously something we would very seriously consider."
Hansen was elevated to the top job having served as an assistant to Sir Graham Henry, and Tew says the concept of again promoting from within appeals to the NZRU were Hansen to leave the post.
"At this stage we are still thinking through exactly how we run that process - it can be complicated," Tew continued.
"But don't overlook [current All Blacks assistant coach] Ian Foster in this country. He is sitting in a very successful environment and making an enormous contribution.
"We certainly want to have that option [of promoting from within], and Ian is definitely one of those options we want to have ready and appropriately skilled and experienced."
Tew also says the NZRU are in regular contact with the Kiwi coaches working overseas.
"We produce a lot of coaches, and in this professional era there is a strong drive from ex-players to stay in the game," said Tew.
"We can't actually offer all of them jobs, so some of them going overseas is beneficial, but we are very keen to keep them connected and very keen to keep them back when the time is right."
|Steve Hansen's All Blacks record|
But while New Zealand rugby has perhaps never been in a stronger place, Tew says they won't let up in their bid for continued global dominance.
"We don't make any apology for doing as well as we possibly can, but you have to be really careful you don't get complacent," he said.
"People are currently questioning where Australian rugby is at - I won't join that debate - but it was only 2015 when they won the Rugby Championship and reached a World Cup final - so things can change very, very quickly.
"We won't take anything for granted and we won't get complacent, but we certainly won't be giving anyone a break, because we don't think that's the right thing to do either."