Next All Blacks coach to be appointed within six weeks

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) will appoint the next All Blacks head coach "within four to six weeks", dealing a blow to Ian Foster who will lead the national team to the World Cup in France later this year.

NZR chairwoman and former governor-general Patsy Reddy said Foster will retain "the full support" of the organisation through the World Cup, which kicks off on September 8.

Foster has already spoken out against any move to name a new coach before the tournament, suggesting such a move could destabilise the team.

He has said he would like to re-apply for the coaching role if New Zealand are successful in France.

The confirmation on Wednesday that a coaching announcement will be made before mid-year suggests NZR is looking for a replacement.

The successful Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is considered a leading candidate after missing out when Foster was appointed in 2019.

Robertson has called for an early decision by NZR as he has other offers to consider.

"New Zealand Rugby has a responsibility to the game with respect to the appointment of our national coaching teams," Reddy said.

"This is particularly important in a global rugby environment where there is significant competition for elite coaching talent.

"Following wide-ranging consultation and after carefully weighing up all scenarios and the key lessons from 2019, New Zealand Rugby is now commencing a process for selecting the All Blacks head coach from 2024."

Foster succeeded Steve Hansen as head coach in 2019 after serving for seven years as Hansen's assistant.

In appointing Foster, New Zealand Rugby said it had done so in the interests of "continuity".

Foster has one of the worst records of an All Blacks coach in the professional era, losing Tests at home last year to Ireland and Argentina.

"Noting the divergent views as to the best timings for this process and that neither timing window is perfect, out of respect for the people involved New Zealand Rugby will not be making any further comment after today until a decision has been reached," Reddy said.

"This will be concluded in the next four to six weeks."