Steve Hansen remains the bookmakers' - and for most New Zealanders - favourite to become the next All Black coach.
And they won't have to wait too long to find out if Hansen will indeed take over from Graham Henry.
While several New Zealand newspapers suggested that Hansen has some competition on his hands, consensus has it that he remains the leading candidate.
Applications for the All Blacks coaching position closed last Friday, with contenders to be interviewed over coming weeks.
NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said that "several" applications had come in, although Tew would not confirm who had put up their hand up for the job.
What he did confirm is that New Zealand will know soon who will take the most prized rugby job in the country.
"We're very keen to have this all done by Christmas," Tew told the Sunday Star Times.
"You can't guarantee that until you get the process under way and start talking to the various individuals. But that is the goal.
"As soon as we've made a decision and got someone, we'll announce it. It's not a secret you can keep long in this country."
Other reports suggested that while Hansen remains favourite, it may well be a two-horse race.
According to The Dominion Post Clermont's Kiwi coach Vern Cotter is firmly in the mix.
Rumours out of Europe have hinted Cotter may be set to cut short his contract with Top 14 club.
The NZRU's regulations state candidates must either have worked in New Zealand for the last year at Super Rugby or ITM Cup level or have at least three years' experience in those roles, accumulated in the last five years.
Lines can be drawn through Warren Gatland, Robbie Deans, John Kirwan, John Mitchell, John Plumtree, Joe Schmidt and Kieran Crowley.
Cotter, though, is believed to squeak in, having last coached as Robbie Deans' assistant with the Crusaders in 2005 and 2006.
The 49-year-old coached Bay of Plenty with some success between 2001 and 2005 and is revered in France for his success with Clermont.
On the home front, Taranaki's Colin Cooper, Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder and Highlanders mentor Jamie Joseph have all made it known that the timing is not right just yet for them and it is understood also that neither Dave Rennie (Chiefs) nor Pat Lam (Blues) have applied.
Those who have applied will appear before a six-man NZRU selection panel - headed by the NZRU Chief Executive, Tew, All Blacks manager Darren Shand and high performance manager Don Tricker.
The other panelists are former All Blacks captain Graham Mourie, NZRU chairman Mike Eagle and board member Graham Cooney.
They will select two men to be interviewed by the full NZRU board.
Tew confirmed that the successful head coach would not necessarily get his preferred backroom staff signed off, and there was a possibility that applications could be called for the posts.
"Each of the candidates who have applied have been asked to indicate who their preferred [coaching] team would be and what structure they want.
"Last time we appointed a coach in 2003, Graham came with a commitment for Wayne [Smith] and Steve to join him. On the basis of that there wasn't a contestable assistant coach process because that was as close to the dream team as we thought we could get.
"This time round that might be the case, but we think it's less likely given what we suspect is going to be in those applications. We'll be having that conversation with the head coach and have to come to agreement where we either agree with what they want or we agree a process to follow that the head coach is comfortable to commit to."
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