All Blacks Assistant Coach Ian Foster has been promoted to the top job, taking over from Head Coach Steve Hansen who stepped down after the Rugby World Cup.
Foster and Crusaders Coach Scott Robertson were the two candidates interviewed for the role and Robertson’s lack of international coaching experience appears to have counted against him.
Foster’s lack of success with the Chiefs in Super Rugby had raised questions of whether he is the right person for the job, but New Zealand Rugby believe they’ve made the right choice.
Foster, 54, has been given a two year contract by NZR, rather than a four year deal through to the next world cup in France.
Foster has been an All Blacks assistant coach since 2012, in charge of the team’s attack, and it’s believed his inside knowledge of the set-up helped get him across the line.
NZR Chair Brent Impey said that Foster would be joined by four other coaches, who will be announced in due course.
“While we can’t confirm the full make-up of the coaching team today, we are delighted with the quality that they bring − they have a wide range of coaching experiences and are a diverse group of thinkers.
“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I want to congratulate Ian on his appointment, and we wish him well for this next phase in the All Blacks’ story,” Impey said.
Leading a legacy
Foster said he was humbled to be selected as Head Coach.
“I feel truly privileged and honoured to be given this opportunity and I can’t wait to lead the team into the next chapter of what is a remarkable legacy,” he said.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the All Blacks over the last eight years and I’m excited and energised by a new coaching team who will join me.
“It’s incredibly humbling to be appointed to the job and I have a strong desire to serve the jersey well and represent New Zealand to the best of my ability.
Incoming NZR CEO Mark Robinson also congratulated Foster, saying that he had impressed the panel.
“These are exciting times. Ian has pulled together a very strong team and he is an outstanding person in his own right with a high-quality set of values. He is committed to stamping his own mark on the team and it’s clear that he and his coaching team want to bring a new and fresh energy into the All Blacks environment.”
Robinson has also acknowledged Crusaders Head Coach Robertson, who also interviewed for the role.
“As someone who knows ‘Razor’ well as a former teammate, he was a very impressive candidate and these decisions are never easy. We know Razor is an outstanding coach and I have no doubt he’ll have a big future in our game at international level.”
The appointment panel for the Head Coach position was made up of Impey, Robinson, NZR Head of High Performance Mike Anthony, former All Blacks Head Coach and NZR Life Member Sir Graham Henry and former Silver Ferns Coach and High Performance Sport New Zealand director Waimarama Taumaunu.
As a first-five Foster played nearly 150 games for Waikato between 1985 and 1998 as well as 26 games of Super Rugby with the Chiefs, ending his playing career in 1998.
Foster’s previous coaching experience includes being an Assistant Coach and Coach of Waikato’s national provincial competition side before coaching the Chiefs in Super Rugby for eight years between 2004 and 2011.
During his time in charge of the Chiefs the side made in one final, in 2009, losing to the South African the Bulls from South Africa.
Foster had two stints as Co-Coach of the Junior All Blacks before being appointed as All Blacks assistant coach in 2012 alongside head coach Steve Hansen.
As an All Blacks assistant coach Foster has been involved with the All Blacks’ victorious 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign as well as 2019 RWC third placing.
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All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster (RNZ Picture)