New Zealand Rugby’s chief has refused to say whether Ian Foster would continue in his job with the All Blacks past the upcoming Tests against the Springboks.
Despite calls for Foster’s axing, only his assistants John Plumtree and Brad Mooar were fired last week, following NZ Rugby’s review of a historic 2-1 defeat to Ireland – the All Blacks’ first series loss on home soil for 28 years.
NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said on Saturday that there would be sharp focus on the All Blacks’ performance in the opening two Rugby Championship Tests against the world champion Boks in South Africa, but refused to say whether Foster would remain coach beyond that.
“I’m not going to get into speculating on things like that,” he told radio station Newstalk ZB.
Foster has a modest record in charge of the All Blacks, with 16 wins from 24 Tests, including four defeats from his last five.
New Zealand will play the Boks in Nelspruit on August 6, and in Johannesburg a week later.
“As we’ve signalled, he’s certainly the person to lead the team to South Africa and we’re making sure that we’ve got everything possible in the way of resourcing and support to make sure that’s successful,” said Robinson.
Foster’s critics have said the jettisoning of assistant coaches Plumtree and Mooar did not go far enough, after Ireland completely outplayed the All Blacks.
While Crusaders forward coach Jason Ryan was added to the coaching staff, many pundits have called for successful Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson to take the top job.
In a podcast this week, six-time Super Rugby title-winning coach Robertson sent a tremor through the national game by declaring he would be willing to coach overseas.
“When someone doesn’t give it to you, you have to think differently about what opportunities are out there,” he said.
Robinson said he had been in contact with Robertson but would not elaborate on the nature of their discussions.
“We certainly understand the sentiment of our fans that’s been coming through loud and clear,” he said.
“We know Razor [Robertson] has a huge amount to offer the game in New Zealand in the future and we’ve obviously got a [domestic] contract with him around that. Commenting any further on that wouldn’t be appropriate.”
Foster’s predecessor as All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen, this week said too much blame for the team’s slumping fortunes had been laid at the feet of the coaching staff.
Hansen, who oversaw just 10 losses during his 107-Test reign, said relations between the players and the NZ Rugby executive had dived to “the worst it’s ever been”.
© Agence France-Presse
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