Wellington - The New Zealand Rugby Union says it has received "several" applications for the All Blacks coaching job vacated by Graham Henry after last month's World Cup victory.
Applications closed on Friday and while the union wouldn't name the candidates, Henry's former assistant Steve Hansen - seen as the frontrunner for the job - has entered the race but faces competition.
New Zealand media reported Vern Cotter, a New Zealander currently coaching the French club Clermont Auvergne, likely is among the candidates.
Cotter, who was previously an assistant at the Crusaders and coached Bay of Plenty province, meets criteria which require applicants to have coached in New Zealand in the past year or to have at least three years' experience at Super Rugby or provincial level.
The appointment of a new All Blacks coach is expected before the end of the year.
Henry coached the All Blacks for eight years, winning 88 of 103 Tests. New Zealand won the Tri-Nations tournament five times and achieved three Grand Slams against the northern hemisphere Home Unions.
Hansen has been Henry's assistant since 2004. He also succeeded Henry as Wales coach when Henry was dismissed from that position in 2002.