All Blacks selector Grant Fox was convinced his tenure in the role would come to an end in 2019. After the team’s World Cup campaign he called time and said his goodbyes to the playing group as he headed into his next chapter.
But after a phone call from new All Blacks head coach Ian Foster, Fox has returned to his post on the selection panel for at least another year.
“I had a phone call from Ian after he knew he got the job. A few things happened in that conversation and the bottom line is I respect the man immensely; I’m excited by some change,” explained Fox.
“Now we get a chance to reset and re-establish ourselves. We’re not the number one team in the world anymore, we’ve got some teams that are very good and getting better, and we’ve got to get the same. I’m really excited by that challenge.”
New Zealand Rugby announced Fox would join the selection panel alongside new All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree. Fox returns on a one-year agreement to help the new regime settle in, but has not ruled out extending his stay beyond 2020.
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“I was very determined after Japan that that was it, but I guess what I’ve learnt is that you can never say never so I’m not going to outright rule it out, but the contract is for one year and it is the intent to just help out for one year and then let someone else take on that role.”
While Fox returns to the team, many of the playing group from the World Cup have moved on to the next stage of their careers, leaving a number of roles to be filled. Speaking about the year ahead, Fox said he was excited about the challenge of not only finding the best talent in the country but also that being posed by other nations on the field.
New All Blacks' coach Ian Foster has announced his coaching staff for 2020. https://t.co/NpWDdDTPqo
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 18, 2019
“I love sitting around debating. It’s part of the challenge. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also fun. We’ll all come with different ideas, we’ll get them on the table and we’ll argue this and argue that but eventually, we’ll get alignment,” Fox said.
“I don’t think we have a lot of holes to fill but there are some which are inevitable because a World Cup cycle, in particular, is often a signal for players to move on to a different chapter in their lives. The All Blacks have a different chapter now – a new head coach, new faces in the coaching group and inevitably with players gone there will be some new players.
“We’ve got some other teams; South Africa are the world champions, Australia we know are going to get better under Dave Rennie, so it just gets more competitive again but we know that. I love the idea of that challenge.”
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