Wellington: New Zealand Rugby bosses have ruled out a foreign coach for the All Blacks, revealing on Wednesday they have asked 26 New Zealanders to apply including Jamie Joseph, who recently guided Japan to a historic first World Cup quarter-final.

Chairman Brent Impey said it was “a luxury” to have such coaching depth to call on after Steve Hansen stepped down at the end of the Rugby World Cup last weekend.

The new coaching team will be named before Christmas, but Joseph is yet to say whether he will seek the All Blacks post or remain with Japan.

“If you look at what we’ve seen with the World Cup, many of those best coaches come from [New Zealand],” Impey said.

“We believe we have covered the field in terms of those coaches, who would have the skillset to do the job. This is a specialist job.”

The announcement came as Japan’s assistant coach Tony Brown revealed he would stay loyal to Joseph and had rejected approaches to join the coaching teams of two leading contenders, Ian Foster and Scott Robertson.

“I made a decision I’m going to stay with Jamie. If he applies for the All Blacks, I’m in. If he stays with Japan, I’m in,” Brown said.

Brown, a former All Blacks fly-half, has formed a close bond with Joseph since the pair rebuilt an ailing Otago Highlanders into Super Rugby champions in 2015.

The pair elevated World Cup hosts Japan into a top-10 nation with victories over Ireland and Scotland in the just-concluded showpiece.

“It felt right to stick with Jamie and what we’ve been doing for the last eight years,” Brown said.

“It was a massive decision. One hundred per cent I want to coach the All Blacks tomorrow. But it didn’t feel right floating between three different coaching teams where I don’t get a say.”