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Ian Foster on verge of resignation after latest All Blacks flop

By Ian Cameron
New Zealand All Blacks coach Ian Foster speaks to the media during a New Zealand All Blacks media opportunity at Novotel Auckland Airport on July 22, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is facing fresh calls to step down after his side’s latest loss and he could now fall on his sword at the behest of New Zealand Rugby.

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The All Blacks didn’t lack for fight but were ultimately dominated by the Springboks in front of more than 40,000 fans at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit – the first game of the 2022 Rugby Championship.

A late try by loose forward Shannon Frizell appeared to put some gloss on the scoreboard for the visiting team only for Springboks fullback Willie Le Roux to score in the last play of the game to seal what was an emphatic 26-10 victory.

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In truth, the All Blacks didn’t pose much of a threat and it was largely one-way traffic following an early try from the electric Kurt-Lee Arendse.

It’s a fifth loss in six Tests for the men in black – a heretofore unheard of run of results for the giants of the sport. They will now drop to their lowest ever World Rugby rankings position – fifth – by dint of having lost the game by 15 points or more.

If media reports in New Zealand are to be believed, Foster may even resign off the back of the latest capitulation.

The New Zealand Herald reported yesterday that Foster was asked by NZR to step down if his side lost to the Springboks – a move that would be welcomed by many if not most in the rugby-mad nation.

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After the game, Foster told Sky Sport’s NZ on the pitch side that the loss in ‘many ways’ was “probably our best performance of the year”.

A win in the second Test may yet save Foster and give the NZR an out, but as far as many fans are concerned, Foster is a metaphorical dead man walking.

Indeed social media for the most appears to think the jig is up for Foster, who took over from Steve Hansen following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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Mark Keohane wrote: “The All Blacks lacked for nothing in desire, intent or passion, but currently they aren’t good enough & certainly Ian Foster most definitely not good enough as a head coach.”

Jamie Phillips wrote: “Clock must be ticking for Ian Foster after yet another limp All Blacks performance. Toothless in attack and they’re still making silly errors. Comfortable win for the Springboks. Malcolm Marx was outstanding in the loose today.”

Welsh reporter Jon Davies wrote: “5 defeats in 6 games, full on crisis mode for All Blacks! Smashed up in every way by Springboks today. Look rudderless and Savea aside alarming lack of leadership amongst players atm. Foster looks out of his depth, no direction, or consistency in selection”.

“Most dominant performance by the Boks against the All Blacks in the Erasmus / Nienaber era. NZ had no answer – totally and comprehensively outplayed,” wrote popular South African fan AP Cronje.

Richard Knowler wrote in Stuff.co.nz that “Ian Foster can’t escape the nightmare. As he watched the All Blacks lose 26-10 to the Springboks in their Rugby Championship match in Mbombela on Sunday morning, Foster may have finally realised he is no longer the right man to coach this team.”

There is the second Test for Foster to steady the ship, but if that feat proves a game too far it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the 57-year-old holds on to his seat.

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