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Hansen says it's 'stupid' NZR haven't signed Foster until 2023 RWC

By Sam Smith
Steve Hansen and Ian Foster. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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Former All Blacks coach Sir Steve Hansen has taken aim at New Zealand Rugby [NZR] for its failure to re-sign Ian Foster through until the 2023 World Cup.

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Foster’s current deal as All Blacks boss is set to expire this year after he signed a two-year deal with NZR to succeed Hansen as head coach of the national team after the 2019 World Cup.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Hansen labelled NZR’s decision to have not already signed Foster, his former assistant of eight years, through until the next World Cup as “stupid”.

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“The next thing that needs to happen by the New Zealand Rugby Union is they need to appoint Ian to go right through to the end of the World Cup,” Hansen said.

“They haven’t even appointed him to go to the World Cup yet, which I think is stupid, they need to get it done.

“It gives stability to the All Blacks and it gives stability to the players and they can get on and start planning for it.

“He’s the man in the hot seat, he’s doing a good job, he’s been through a tremendous lot of stressful situations last year with COVID, he handled it with real class, he’s maintained the Bledisloe and the Tri Nations – yes, South Africa weren’t in it, but that’s not his fault – and they won the trophies they needed to win.

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“They’re starting to build something – I think watching them from afar – quite tidy.

“Get him contracted through to the end of the World Cup, and then whatever happens, happens, and the New Zealand Rugby Union will have to make some decisions I suppose.”

Hansen’s comments come a day after Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at the Christchurch-based franchise until 2024.

Robertson’s new deal features an exit clause that gives him the option to opt out of the last year of his contract if he misses out on becoming All Blacks head coach by the end of 2023.

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Robertson and Foster stood as the two leading candidates to take over from Hansen after the 2019 World Cup, but the 46-year-old’s bid to become All Blacks head coach was ultimately unsuccessful.

Hansen welcomed the news that Robertson will stay on Kiwi shores over the coming years, but rejected suggestions that the five-time Super Rugby/Super Rugby Aotearoa title-winning coach is the next in line to the All Blacks throne.

“I think they’re covering their bases and saying ‘look, we’ve got a very good coach here and we want to keep him in New Zealand’,” Hansen told Newstalk ZB.

“As long as they haven’t promised him that he’s going to get the job in 2024 – because if they have and Foz goes and wins the World Cup, then they’re going to have a wee problem on their hands aren’t they?

“But, from my experiences, you don’t promise players anything and you shouldn’t be promising coaches anything. But what you do is you give them a clear indication of what the future looks like and you encourage them to go for it, and if they continue to grow and get better then the opportunity will arise for them at some point.”

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Hansen says it's 'stupid' NZR haven't signed Foster until 2023 RWC

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