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'Ashamed': Ex-All Blacks player defends Ian Foster on Twitter

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images)

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Former All Blacks winger Julian Savea has jumped to the defence of Ian Foster, stating that he is ashamed of how the coach is currently being treated by the New Zealand media. The All Blacks head into next Saturday’s Rugby Championship round two game versus the Springboks in Johannesburg on the back of five losses in their last six matches

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It’s a situation that has generated much comment about the position of Foster as All Blacks coach and it has been speculated that this weekend’s tour-ending match in South Africa will be his last in charge.  

It was under Steve Hansen – with Foster as an assistant – that 2015 World Cup winner Savea won the last of his 54 All Blacks caps in 2017 before he headed to France in 2018 for a couple of seasons. 

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Now back at the Hurricanes and currently playing for Wellington in Mitre 10 Cup, he has taken to social media to defend the coach of an All Blacks side that his brother Ardie plays for at No8. Writing on Twitter, Savea said: “Shocked and disturbed at some of the comments and remarks I’ve seen and heard about Ian Foster on social media lately. 

“In a country where mental health is a big issue, where 72 per cent of suicides are men and a high number of depression amongst men, you would think people would be a bit kinder and think about their words before they make remarks on someone’s integrity, appearance and character, especially when they don’t know them on a personal level. I’m ashamed that this is how a human is treated and dragged in the media here in NZ.”

In its first 13 hours online, the message received nearly 100 replies, more than 250 retweets and in excess of 3,000 likes. Savea himself knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of criticism, especially during his time overseas with Toulon.

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