New Zealand Rugby (NZR) boss Steve Tew has poured cold water on the prospect of Warren Gatland coaching the All Blacks due to his commitment to the British & Irish Lions.
Gatland, who will step down as Wales coach after the Rugby World Cup, has signed to coach the Lions in South Africa in 2021 and is also returning to New Zealand to coach the Chiefs in Super Rugby.
Current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is set to step down after the bronze match against Wales in Tokyo on Friday.
"I think to coach the All Blacks and the Lions in a four-year period would be impossible," outgoing NZR chief executive Tew told New Zealand's Radio Sport on Monday.
NZR will set up a four-member panel to interview candidates after the World Cup and hope to announce Hansen's replacement by Christmas, added Tew, who will be succeeded by Mark Robinson at the end of the year.
The All Blacks' semi-final defeat to England has been a tough pill to swallow for New Zealand fans accustomed to success after back-to-back World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015, but Tew urged the nation to move on.
"This is sport. The best team won and it wasn't us. I am very proud of this team and how they carry themselves," he said.
"I think people should take a deep breath and let it go.
"Everyone is hurting. These are not easy days."