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NZR make final decision to back Ian Foster

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images)

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Under fire All Blacks coach Ian Foster has received the support of New Zealand Rugby and will be retained after saving his job following the win over the Springboks in Johannesburg.

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New Zealand Rugby chairman Stewart Mitchell announced this afternoon that Foster had passed his third review in the space of the last 12 months and would be in charge through to the Rugby World Cup.

The board chair affirmed the Union has ‘absolute confidence’ in Foster and the coaching staff’s ability to take the team to France in 2023.

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“Yesterday, Mark and Chris Lendrum met with Ian to finalise conversations around where things sat after the first five tests of the year,” Mitchell said.

“Ian has provided management with his own recommendations, and these have in turn been recommended to the board who have unanimously agreed they have absolute confidence that Ian and this coaching group are the right people to lead the All Blacks through to the World Cup.

“This has been privately and publicly validated by our players and in various conversations with our high performance team.

“I want to absolutely emphasise going forward that both Ian as head coach and Mark as chief executive have the board’s absolute backing and support.”

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There will be one change to the coaching staff with former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt stepping into the vacant assistant coaching role left by Brad Mooar.

Schmidt had originally joined New Zealand Rugby as a selector but has seen the scope of his role expand dramatically in his first couple of months with the organisation.

He joins the official coaching staff alongside new forwards coach Jason Ryan, defence coach Scott McLeod and scrum coach Greg Feek.

Foster spoke to the media at the announcement about the ‘performance stress’ the team was under but accepted that getting ‘grilled’ was part and parcel of being the All Blacks coach.

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“Clearly it’s been a difficult time. At the start of this campaign, we didn’t get what we wanted against Ireland and that created a lot of performance stress,” Foster said.

“That’s part of my job, and I expect to be grilled in that space. And so through the last month I’ve had a number of conversations about how we can grow our organisation and make sure that we get the performance that we want on the park.”

 

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