All Blacks icon takes aim at NZ Rugby over Foster treatment

Publish Date
Wednesday, 3 April 2024, 9:32AM

By Alex Powell

All Blacks-turned-Wallabies scrum guru Mike Cron did not hold back in his appraisal of New Zealand Rugby over the treatment of former coach Ian Foster.

In early 2023, Foster was left blindsided by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) opting to appoint their 2024 coach in advance of the season, as Scott Robertson was eventually signed to take charge of the national side.

Foster, who had coached the All Blacks since the retirement of Sir Steve Hansen after the 2019 World Cup, opted not to reapply for the role. However, that decision left Foster between a rock and a hard place and he had to negotiate the entire 2023 campaign knowing he was out of a job.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Cron nailed his colours to the mast over the treatment of Foster, and took aim at the media for their role in a process which New Zealand Rugby had never taken before in moving so early.

“[He’s] a great man, great coach,” he said. “He was hard done by.

“It was shit what they did to him, I thought, between the media and NZR.

“He didn’t deserve it. [He’s] a far greater man than that. Hopefully they never go down that path again.”

In spite of that, though, Foster’s All Blacks managed to defy expectation and reach the final of last year’s World Cup, where they were ultimately beaten by the Springboks 12-11.

But as Robertson prepares to take charge of the All Blacks, starting against England later this year, he’ll have to contend with two compatriots now helming Australia’s charge.

Former All Blacks assistant Joe Schmidt has signed on to coach the Wallabies through until the end of 2025, and will now be joined by Cron as scrum coach.

Cron was part of the All Blacks environment for 15 years and was part of the sides that won the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.

All up, Foster coached the All Blacks in 46 tests for 32 wins, 12 defeats and two draws, for a win percentage of 69.57.

Meanwhile, Cron continued to say that his move to join Australia was not in any way a slight at NZR for Foster’s treatment.

Instead, Cron and Schmidt are now just two more Kiwis in overseas coaching roles, with a number of New Zealanders working at club and international levels abroad.

“Not at all. I’ve got no problems,” he asserted. “They just didn’t handle that very well.

“It was clunky.”

Robertson’s All Blacks begin their 2024 campaign against England at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 6.

Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cron’s Wallabies open their year against Wales on the same date in Sydney.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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