Steve Hansen has given his biggest hint yet on who he thinks should take over his top job when he steps down after the Rugby World Cup.
Speaking after the All Blacks’ 46-14 win over Ireland, Hansen was clearly impressed by the work that Ian Foster has been doing as All Blacks attack coach, giving him his endorsement.
“Fozzie has got the attack going really good, he’s reinvented it, and is coaching probably the best I have ever seen him coach”, said Hansen.
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When Hansen announced at the end of last year that he would be stepping down after the World Cup, he refused to speculate on who he would tip to take over from him, though did note that Foster “would do a good job, despite not having coached overseas”.
The last All Black coach to get the job without coaching overseas was Wayne Smith.
Neil Sorensen, former general manager of New Zealand Rugby, said in an interview at the time that Foster’s lack of overseas experience would be a factor in the decision.
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“I can tell you that Fozzie is really clear, and we’re clear at our place, that when he signed with us to extend his contract, he said I’m worried – maybe I need to go offshore for a while and come back.”
“He made that decision to stick around with a successful All Black side, when the panel sits down they will have to take that into account. Fozzie will be sitting there thinking ‘maybe I should have gone offshore and it will count against me’.”
It has long been touted that Foster has been groomed for the top job in New Zealand sport. Head coach of the Chiefs from 2004-2011, taking them to one final, which ended in a hefty defeat, Foster also coached the Junior All Blacks back in 2005, before taking over as All Blacks assistant coach in 2012.
Hansen also spoke about his other assistant coach, defensive specialist Scott McLeod.
“I think Stormy (McLeod) has done a wonderful job this year and has got them going well.”
It is believed that McLeod will back Foster for the top job.
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