Although it came like a "bolt from the blue" World Cup-winning All Blacks flyhalf Grant Fox is excited about his new role as independent selector for New Zealand alongside coaches Steve Hansen and Ian Foster.
Fox's role will be to provide something of an "outsiders" perspective to his fellow selectors who will obviously be heavily involved in the coaching of the team.
Although Fox has had limited coaching experience since he hung up his boots, he has remained involved in the game as an analyst which qualifies him to fulfill a role very similar to the one held by Sir Brian Lochore in Graham Henry's first four years in charge of the All Blacks.
Hansen unveiled Foster as his official assistant and Aussie McLean as defence coach on Friday, and although both appointments had been widely predicted in the media not many people expected Fox to be part of the mix, least of all the man himself.
"It wasn't something I was expecting," Fox told media in Auckland. "The call from Steve wanting me to do the selector's job was a bolt out of the blue.
"I was really looking forward to summer and relaxing and all of a sudden I've now got something else to think about," he joked.
Hansen will make use of two specialist coaches - McLean, who will take charge of the defensive system and another skills coach who will be confirmed soon, although incumbent Mick Byrne is seen as the frontrunner.
The new All Blacks boss specifically targeted Fox as he wanted someone passionate about the jersey who could provide a fresh view on selection issues.
"I wanted to find someone independent from the team who had the ability to break down a player's game, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and bring a fresh viewpoint to the selection process, and he's that man," Hansen said.
Fox said that it did not take him long to agree to the role once he got the call from Hansen last week.
"I was in the car and took the call. I was flattered by Steve's approach and said yes pretty quickly but just needed to check a couple of things to make sure.
"Within 24 hours I was able to get back to him and confirm that, yes, I would absolutely be delighted if he was successful to be part of his crew," he added.
Although he has not been involved in the game directly, Fox has followed the game and the players closely in his role as an analyst which he believes has prepared him well for his role as independent selector.
"Over the years, I've watched a bit of rugby so I've seen a lot of players. I'd like to think I have a pretty good understanding of the way the game's played and the technical skills required and the mental skills required at test level, which I think is pretty important also," he said.
Fox made it clear that his mandate was to remain detached from the coaching team in order to be able to provide the kind of "outsiders" perspective that Hansen wants to ensure that they get their selections spot on.
He explained: "Steve wants me to be very independent. There's no coaching involved and I'm someone on the outside looking in.
"He described it to me that sometimes when you're inside the group you can get lost in the forest when you are very close to the players - as they have to be being coaches.
"He just wants someone who might challenge their thinking from time to time and have a contrary point of view and help create robust debate. I'm pretty confident I can bring that to the role," said Fox.
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