Other favourites for the position should Hansen step away include All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster, who has worked under Hansen since 2012, and Montpellier coach Vern Cotter, who interviewed for Hansen's position after the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand, to their credit, accepted they had been outfoxed by Schmidt, who spends hours searching for fresh ideas - "I always steal them from someone else" - that can be tailored to his side's specific needs. "At the same time it's been an bad lot of hard work, there's been a lot of lessons as well, and I suppose that's what it takes to progress in worldwide rugby and professional rugby in general".
We have all the latest on Ireland's Homeless World Cup run in Mexico in which they are in the Telmex Tercel final today against Romania. I saw Ben Smith had come up on the outside to defend Rory Best and I saw the space in behind him.
"Yeah, look. I thought it was for Tadhg (Furlong)", he laughed.
"If I didn't want to stay coaching the All Blacks, then I can't see myself coaching another worldwide team in the near future", Hansen told Fairfax.
Schmidt's All Blacks counterpart Steve Hansen has said it will be interesting to see how the Irish cope with being the world's best team, a tag he said they deserved for coming out on top in a battle of the two top-ranked sides.
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Clive Woodward recognised this and in the lead-up to the 2003 World Cup in Australia he felt it was critical that his England team beat all the southern hemisphere teams in the two years leading into the tournament.
In a testing year for Hansen and his coaching staff, the All Blacks have been beaten by both South Africa and Ireland, as well as been made to work for results over the likes of Argentina, France and England.
They are not quite the world's best yet, but they are close.
When there is a shift in the axis of a sport, it is possible to get carried away - say, as a insane antidote to Brexit, if you wish. "Richie Murphy [Ireland's kicking coach] is always talking about how much of a difference chips and grubbers down the line can make, especially if you can get them between the 15 and the touchline".
"We all know he is with us until the World Cup, I think maybe he'll give us another two years after that and then someone else will transition into the role but we all know he is a kiwi at heart". Could they be keeping something back for the more important challenge to come? "They forced us into a few errors at times". "They gave us the confidence to back ourselves".
"I think the first half we probably tried too hard and that's why I think our discipline at times let us down".