Ian Foster and Scott Robertson each had one main selling point in their race to become the new All Blacks coach.
Robertson has a resume that very few coaches can rival: two provincial titles with Canterbury, a World Rugby Under 20 Championship with New Zealand and three Super Rugby titles crowns consecutive years with the Crusaders (a side he’s been at the helm at for just those three years).
Foster’s resume, on the other hand, is far less glamorous on a domestic level but he has been part of the All Blacks setup for the past eight years under Steve Hansen and New Zealand Rugby have previously supported the policy of appointing from within. Ultimately, NZR upheld their traditional approach and chose Foster.
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In light of this, there is a lot of sympathy for Robertson from many All Blacks fans. While Foster always stood a good chance of being appointed to ensure continuity, the Crusaders coach’s record is so staggeringly impressive, many thought he may have shaded the battle.
YUCK, poor Robertson clearly the best coach and misses out to Ian Foster of all coaches. What a sham this whole process has been – Razor was no chance and the other 24 invited to apply knew they were no chance too. Id be gutted if he was coaching the chiefs bt nz ???
— Ben (@2legit2dunk) December 11, 2019
? They've missed a trick not getting Robertson. Could have done with some new energy to stop the slide of players going north. https://t.co/Nn6hFmWwGr
— Robert Giannotti (@robertgiannotti) December 11, 2019
I… I'm a bit surprised that they didn't go for Scott Robertson. But also kind of not surprised #AllBlacks
— P.G. Wodelouse (@PGWodelouse) December 11, 2019
What some are saying is that this has disincentivised any coach from applying for the All Blacks job in the future, as very few would be able to make a more compelling case to be coach than Robertson has on this occasion. Unless NZR make it clear that the next appointment will be different, anyone that is not part of the coaching team already will be reluctant to apply.
Huge mistake. You've not only picked the inferior candidate, you've further disincentivised quality NZ coaches from applying to be ABs coach in the future.
— MrHeathcliff (@heathcliff_mr) December 11, 2019
Oh what a surprise. So much for opportunities in NZ and here is why we are losing our best. I am a big fan but it really is time for a change we have been found out! Sad day for mine.
— Michael MacMillan (@VizualizeIt) December 11, 2019
The other reason why many are sceptical is that the loss to England in the Rugby World Cup semi-final has been viewed as a watershed moment. The All Blacks’ eight years of dominance came crashing down in Yokohama, and it is feared in New Zealand that it signalled the end of such a fruitful period.
Therefore, some feel that a fresh approach is needed within the All Blacks coaching setup to avoid the chance of the team growing stale. Phrases like “decade of decline” have been bandied about by fans as a consequence.
Boooooo. All Blacks decade of decline starts today. All that talk by Hansen of fresh ideas and here we are. Stale city
— Shed (@derilicte) December 11, 2019
AB's need a fresh mind, doubt Ian Foster is the answer as he has been in the system far too long. Razor would have been my pick, but let Boks reign as no.1 continue until 2021. https://t.co/8RJhde4Kcw
— Nandile Maholwana (@Igwe_TheElder) December 11, 2019
When Graham Henry stood down in 2011 after winning the RWC, it would have been a travesty if anyone but Hansen took over, as he had, after all, helped build such a formidable team. The All Blacks flourished over the next four years under him, but some have felt that they have waned since 2015 – at least compared to their usual standards. With Robertson proving credentials since then, developing arguably the best non-Test team in the world, many feel that this is an opportunity lost.
WATCH: One of the darlings of the 2019 Rugby World Cup could find themselves on the outer in the coming years.
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