Joe Schmidt turned down the chance to join the All Blacks coaching ticket a year ago.
Steve Tew, CEO of New Zealand Rugby, has confirmed to The New Zealand Herald that they wanted Schmidt to replace Wayne Smith as Steve Hansen's assistant in the summer of 2017.
It was mooted he would work alongside Ian Foster, with one of them ultimately taking over from Hansen.
Schmidt's stock has soared even higher since then. He's had a stunning 2018, leading Ireland to a Grand Slam, a series win in Australia and a historic Dublin slaying of the Kiwis in the autumn.
Shortly after that triumph, Schmidt announced he will step away from Ireland after next year's World Cup in japan, with Andy Farrell taking the reins.
Schmidt intends to take a break from coaching to focus on his family.
"I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019," he said last month.
"I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but where ever we have travelled has been uplifting.
"Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland."