All Blacks: Ian Foster confirms he will step down as head coach after World Cup

Rugby World Cup Ian Foster All Blacks coach v Scotland ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Rugby World Cup Ian Foster All Blacks coach v Scotland ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

New Zealand will have a new head coach after this year’s Rugby World Cup in France after current boss Ian Foster confirmed that he will not be reapplying for the position.

Foster made his announcement shortly after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed that the new All Blacks coach for 2024 and beyond would be appointed within four to six weeks.

Swansong at the World Cup

The 57-year-old confirmed on Wednesday that he will not be amongst the candidates for the job and that he would step down from his role after the World Cup.

“As I said last week, I felt the best thing for our team and for our entire management group was to have this process done after the Rugby World Cup,” Foster said in a statement. “That hasn’t happened but we will accept the decision and move on.

“My sole focus remains unchanged. It is to lead this All Blacks team and management group in our planning and preparation so that we go to France with the goal of winning the Rugby World Cup and making this country proud.

“I won’t be re-applying for the job of head coach.”

Foster told NZME last week that if the All Blacks won the World Cup, he would “like the opportunity to say that maybe I would like to have another crack at this job”.

His decision to step down opens the door for a new coach, with Crusaders boss Scott Robertson and Japan’s head coach Jamie Joseph seen as the favourites to replace him.

Meanwhile, NZR chairperson Dame Patsy Reddy confirmed earlier on Wednesday that the appointment of a new All Blacks head coach will be made within weeks.

“New Zealand Rugby has a responsibility to the game with respect to the appointment of our national coaching teams,” she said in a statement. “This is particularly important in a global rugby environment where there is significant competition for elite coaching talent.

“Following wide-ranging consultation and after carefully weighing up all scenarios and the key lessons from 2019, New Zealand Rugby is now commencing a process for selecting the All Blacks head coach from 2024.

“We appreciate these decisions are challenging as we try to find the balance between public scrutiny and high-performance expectations, within the need to safeguard our responsibilities and ensure we are prioritising conversations internally with our people.

“Until now, New Zealand Rugby has been reluctant to talk publicly about an appointment process for the All Blacks coach to protect the integrity of the process, and to minimise the scrutiny on the individuals involved. Recent events, however, necessitate some clarity.

Timing window not perfect

“Noting the divergent views as to the best timings for this process and that neither timing window is perfect, out of respect for the people involved, New Zealand Rugby will not be making any further comment after today until a decision has been reached. This will be concluded in the next four to six weeks.

“The current All Blacks coaching and management team, led by Ian Foster, continues to have the full support of New Zealand Rugby through this critical Rugby World Cup year.”

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