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Tana Umaga calls out 'bandwagon' All Black fans for treatment of Foster

By Kim Ekin
Ian Foster, Head Coach of New Zealand, and Richie Mo'unga of New Zealand celebrate victory at full-time following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between Ireland and New Zealand at Stade de France on October 14, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Former All Black captain and legendary midfielder Tana Umaga has expressed his disappointment at how head coach Ian Foster has been treated as support for the All Blacks grows after their quarter-final win.

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After losing back-to-back Tests to end 2021, the All Blacks lost the home series to Ireland before another defeat to South Africa which left the All Blacks in a historically poor slump.

The pressure intensified around Foster and his job as head coach, eventually leading to his two assistants being replaced.

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Umaga said he felt for the embattled head coach is he wore the wrath of the public who are now trying to jump back on the bandwagon after the All Blacks 28-24 win over Ireland.

“There wasn’t a lot of expectation on New Zealand going into the game [against Ireland],” Umaga told the Official Rugby World Cup podcast.

“That’s even at home, I don’t think the public at home gave this Ian Foster-led team any hope of making it past this stage.

“A lot of things have happened back home. I have felt for Ian Foster and the way that he is not coming back next year. It’s not something we usually do.

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“Now we have got to this stage you see everyone is trying to clamber back onto the bandwagon. Obviously Fozzy was going to get us there and he’s got a lot of good people around him.

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“I had a thought for him, what he has been through. We love our national team, as does everyone, and they like to have a say about it and sometimes it is not the kindest words they use for our coaches.

“He went through a lot and I feel for him and his family who went through that.”

With Scott Robertson already announced as the next All Blacks head coach from 2024, Ian Foster stands in a unique position of being able to capture every piece of tournament hardware under his watch.

Despite the losses to key rivals, the All Blacks have not lost a tournament under Ian Foster, winning the Tri-Nations in 2020 and all three Rugby Championships in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

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Winning the Rugby World Cup would see Foster bow out as one of the most successful All Blacks coaches ever from the standpoint of winning big trophies.

The All Blacks face Argentina in the first semi-final on Saturday morning NZT and the winner of that contest will face either England or South Africa in the final.

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Eabn 8 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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