Ian Foster's admission about All Blacks coaching saga

Publish Date
Tuesday, 21 March 2023, 10:01AM

Ian Foster admits the saga surrounding the next All Blacks coach has created an “interesting vibe” among his staff.

Foster has made it known that he disagrees with New Zealand Rugby’s decision to proceed with the appointment process for the next All Blacks coach before the upcoming World Cup, saying it will act as a distraction for the players as they try to win the title in Paris.

He has since confirmed that he won’t reapply for his job and will walk away after his contract runs out at the end of the year, leaving Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and Japan coach Jamie Joseph as the two left in contention for the role.

Speaking on Sky Sport’s Breakdown, Foster revealed an All Blacks management meeting was held to clear the air over the “uncertainty” of the situation.

“We had a two-day management meeting about two-three weeks ago,” Foster said. “We were able to clear the air a little bit and talk about what’s happening and the uncertainty. Because it has created an interesting vibe in the group.”

The decision on the next All Blacks coach is set to ramp up in the next couple of weeks, with a panel taking shape and interviews set to take place.

Asked about what he would be looking for if he were on the panel to decide the next coach, Foster said he didn’t want to comment on a process he didn’t agree with.

“We’re a little bit unsure yet what the processes are for communicating with that group. We’re tight. We’re really connected. The one thing we need to share with people is that we’re 100 per cent focused on this World Cup and that’s all we want to do.

“But there will be some things happening; you’ve already started to see Joe Schmidt announce he wouldn’t be applying and Gilbert Enoka has come out and made a clear decision [to leave after the World Cup]. Some people really wanted certainty early and didn’t want to be involved in this process and there might be a few more.”

Foster, along with assistant coaches Joe Schmidt and Jason Ryan, have spent the past two weeks scouting Six Nations rivals in Europe.

The All Blacks coach was full of praise for both France and Ireland, adding that the World Cup — which kicks off in September — is going to be tough.

“Both playing really well. Six Nations is a great tournament. A lot of atmosphere around it. If you look at France particularly, they started out slow having a loss to Ireland and the first three games probably didn’t hit their straps but certainly at Twickenham and against Wales they are a team on the up.

“Looks to me like they only have one goal and that’s to play well later in the year. Very passionate country behind them. Amazing how much France is excited about this World Cup coming up. It’s going to be huge.

“Ireland just continue doing what they’re doing. They’re playing really efficient rugby, they’re big in the big moments of the game and we saw that again against a pretty rejuvenated England team who showed a lot of spirit. Ireland came back really clinical in that last quarter.”

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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