Foster confident he has backing of All Blacks stars after New Zealand coaching shake-up

·2-min read

Ian Foster is confident he has full backing from the New Zealand squad, despite two of his assistant coaches losing their jobs after a poor run of form.

All Blacks management announced on Sunday that John Plumtree and Brad Mooar have left their roles on the back of a first home series defeat to Ireland last weekend.

Jason Ryan will join from Crusaders as Plumtree's successor as forwards coach ahead of the Rugby Championship, which begins in two weeks' time.

Former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has also now started his role as an independent selector and will work closely with Foster, who looks set to retain his job heading into the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Amid growing calls for Scott Robertson to take over as New Zealand head coach, Foster is focusing on the task at hand.

"I believe I've got the group and now I've got to deliver the plan," he told Sky Sport. "Part of the changes I've made is about making sure I'm not taking for granted their belief in the direction that I'm heading.

"But I'm also listening to them and making the changes that we all feel we need for this team."

Regarding whether he has the absolute backing of the players, Foster said: "That's one of the questions I got them to talk about.

"I'm not in the room. It was just them and with all the noise around, there's been a lot of people putting me under pressure for a long, long time, so in many ways this isn't new.

"They also did a similar process with New Zealand Rugby as is normal after a series. I think we got a clear mandate that there's a strong belief in the direction we're going.

"But there's a feeling we need to get a new voice in there and make some changes to get the gains we really want to get."

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