New All Blacks coach Ian Foster says the weeks leading up to his appointment have been demanding.
The 54-year-old – who served as Hansen’s assistant since 2012 – beat main rival and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson to the position. The decision maintains New Zealand Rugby’s approach of promoting from within, after Hansen succeeded 2011 World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry seven years ago.
Speaking after he landed the top job, Foster said it had been ‘a pretty interesting three or four weeks’ since the World Cup.
‘There’s been a lot of the questions, it’s been quite demanding and to come out the other side and get a vote of confidence is fantastic and I really value that,’ he said.
‘For me it’s been eight years in this black jersey and I’ve learned a lot, experienced a lot and the ability to be able to take that forward and to add my own flavour to it, to actually be able take some ideas about the core stuff that we are doing and we’re doing well, but also to add a new list of some things.
‘We obviously need to grow, we need to tweak. We didn’t get what we wanted in the last World Cup losing that semi-final. There’s a massive opportunity for us now to go on and rethink some things, to take the good out of it and to go forward with an open mind about where this team goes.’
Foster added that he was excited about his coaching group and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about that.
‘I’ve got guys that are willing to challenge and some fresh voices in there that are going to really help us look at the game and look at what we’re doing and add a lot of spice to it. That part of it is pretty special to me,’ he explained.
Foster said he had a job ahead to reinvent himself with the public and the media after eight years as an assistant coach.
‘Now it’s time for you to see me in a new light and it’s up to me to show you that I’m innovative, I’ve got a sense of direction about where I want this team to go and extremely passionate about adding a new touch to it and to really grow and get some mana back on the field which we felt we’ve lost a little bit,’ he said.
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