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'I have no idea' - Not even Ian Foster knows if win saved his job

By Ian Cameron
Ian New Zealand's coach Ian Foster catches a ball as his players warm up ahead of the Rugby Championship international rugby match between South Africa and New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on August 13, 2022. (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

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The broad consensus this week was that a struggling New Zealand side would capitulate to the Springboks once again and that head coach Ian Foster would be given the marching his marching orders.

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The All Blacks failed to read the script.

The men in black put in a gutsy performance to earn a hard-fought 35-23 win on the Highveld, a result that will see them leapfrog South Africa into third in the World Rugby rankings.

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Now the question on everyone’s lips is – has the boilover win in Johannesburg saved Foster’s neck?

The man himself seemed none the wiser. Asked immediately after the game if he would be in the job in two weeks and his reply was: “I have no idea, I am just going to enjoy tonight,” Foster told Sky Sports.

NZ Herald journalist Christopher Reive posted – possibly with tongue in cheek: “Can’t wait for Ian Foster to lead this team to World Cup glory in 2023”.

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RugbyPass columnist Andy Goode posted that he believed Foster’s job was safe. “Fair play to the All Blacks that’s some bounce back win especially with a tight 5 in reverse for large parts of the game. Savea was a monster and they’ve saved Ian Foster’s job right there!”

Newstalk ZB sports news director Matt Brown doesn’t think the impressive win will be enough to spare Foster the sack. “Well done All Blacks terrific response in the face of adversity, I didn’t see it coming but I still don’t think it will be enough to save coach Ian Foster.”

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The joke doing the rounds in various forms is that the only positive for the Springboks [and maybe the rest of world rugby] from the win is that Foster will retain his job into next year’s Rugby World Cup. Squidge Rugby summed it up well, posting: “I’d like to thank South Africa for taking one for the team so Ian Foster is still in the job at the World Cup.”

Abdullah Mahmood saw the funny side of things, posting: “Ian Foster in the NZ changing room right now”.

It was a fait accompli that Foster would be fired if they lost in Ellis Park today. Now the eyes of the rugby world will fall on the NZR once again this week, as we wait with bated breath for the denouement to this fascinating rugby melodrama.

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