Sport

RUGBY

All Blacks coach Ian Foster survives axe after Ellis Park success

All Blacks coach Ian Foster survives axe after Ellis Park success
Coach Ian Foster at an All Blacks training session at Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, on 26 July 2022. (Photo: Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images)

Foster has struggled to reproduce the same results as his predecessor Steve Hansen, following the retirements of a number of world-class players from the New Zealand squad.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) endorsed Ian Foster as the right man to coach the All Blacks through to next year’s World Cup on 17 August, but said he would have more hands-on support from selector and strategist Joe Schmidt.

Foster had come under huge pressure after the All Blacks suffered three consecutive defeats against Ireland and South Africa but was relieved after the rebound win over the Springboks at Ellis Park last Saturday. The All Blacks won 35-23.

Local media had speculated Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was poised to replace Foster, but NZR’s board unanimously backed the incumbent at a meeting earlier on Wednesday, officials said.

“Some of the steps we’ve seen in recent weeks give us a huge amount of confidence going forward,” NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson told reporters.

“We’ve had some really fantastic conversations with (Foster) … We are backing (the staff) through to the World Cup.”

Foster, sitting alongside Robinson, said he was delighted with the endorsement from the CEO and board.


Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations


“I just want to remind people it’s a privilege to be in this job … I believe in the plan I’ve got and believe we’ve got great support behind us,” he said.

Foster, appointed in 2019 after his former boss Steve Hansen stepped down after the World Cup in Japan, has struggled to reproduce the same results as his predecessor following the retirements of a number of world-class players.

He survived an NZR review after the 2-1 defeat in the home series against Ireland in July, with his former assistant coaches John Plumtree and Brad Mooar axed instead.

Robertson’s former assistant coach Jason Ryan came in as forwards coach and selector Schmidt was appointed to work with Foster on strategy and attack as part of that shake-up.

Former Ireland coach Schmidt did not travel with the team to South Africa but will now play a bigger role in match-day preparations, which Foster welcomed.

“I’m delighted he’s here for the right reasons, he complements the group we’ve got,” Foster said.

NZR and Robinson came in for heavy criticism from former players and pundits over their handling of the Foster question, with Robinson refusing repeatedly to endorse him as coach in a media conference on Sunday.

After the Ellis Park match, Foster said he had “no idea” whether he would be coach of the All Blacks for their next Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on 27 August.

“The reality is we’re dealing with a whole lot of different aspects of this situation which frankly we can’t share a lot and talk a lot about,” Robinson said.

“So sometimes we don’t get it all right as a result of that. But it’s not through a lack of commitment to want the best for the team.” Reuters/DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.