Ian Foster to coach All Blacks

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Current New Zealand assistant Ian Foster has been confirmed as the new All Blacks coach.

Foster served as attack coach under his predecessor Steve Hansen and has long been earmarked as the next international leader.

Though he seemed an obvious successor, the All Blacks' World Cup semi-final loss to England put the certainty of Foster's ascension in doubt.

Interestingly, Foster has been signed for just two years, rather than through to the next Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Foster beat out highly-rated Crusaders coach Scott Robertson for the role after the pair interviewed for the job in Wellington last week.

New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey said Foster was selected after an "extensive" interview process.

"The NZR Board has today ratified Ian Foster as the new Head Coach of the All Blacks from 2020. He brings world-class international experience to the role, an incredibly strong coaching team, and we think he’ll do an outstanding job," he said,

“The interview process was extensive and really difficult, which reflects the very strong applications from both candidates.”

Impey said Foster would have four assistants but did not reveal their identity in Wednesday's announcement.

“While we can’t confirm the full make-up of the coaching team today, we’re delighted with the quality they bring − they have a wide range of coaching experiences and are a diverse group of thinkers."

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I want to congratulate Ian on his appointment, and we wish him well for this next phase in the All Blacks’ story."

The 54-year-old said he was "honoured" to be appointed coach.

“I feel truly privileged and honoured to be given this opportunity and I can’t wait to lead the team into the next chapter of what is a remarkable legacy,” he said.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the All Blacks over the last eight years and I’m excited and energised by a new coaching team who will join me.

“It’s incredibly humbling to be appointed to the job and I have a strong desire to serve the jersey well and represent New Zealand to the best of my ability."

Incoming NZR CEO Mark Robinson said Foster would bring his own flavour to the job.

“These are exciting times.  Ian has pulled together a very strong team and he is an outstanding person in his own right with a high-quality set of values," he said.

“He is committed to stamping his own mark on the team and it’s clear that he and his coaching team want to bring a new and fresh energy into the All Blacks environment.”

Robinson paid tribute to the Robertson's quality and tipped him for an international role down the track.

“As someone who knows ‘Razor’ well as a former teammate, he was a very impressive candidate and these decisions are never easy," he said.

"We know Razor is an outstanding coach and I have no doubt he’ll have a big future in our game at international level.”