New Zealand: Rieko Ioane not fussed about who takes All Blacks coaching reins

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Despite the speculation about who will take over the All Blacks’ coaching reins within the next few weeks, star utility back Rieko Ioane is not fussed about who replaces Ian Foster in the position.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed last week that they will unveil the new coach in four to six weeks, breaking the tradition of making the announcement after the World Cup.

Ian Foster not reapplying for his job

Foster ruled himself out of contention before that announcement, claiming he will not reapply for the position.

Former captains Richie McCaw and Kieran Read, as well as incumbent skipper Sam Cane, have all spoken about the decision to name the next All Blacks captain before this year’s global showpiece in France, but Ioane is not bothered about it.

“It is what it is,” he told Newshub. “I’m in no position to speak on how events unfolded.

“As players, we’re looking forward to playing in our clubs and without too many distractions, but life happens. At the end of the day, it’s a business, and we see that every day in this job.

“I’ve got a clear head for the Blues, my sole focus is the Blues, so I don’t let too much outside noise distract me.”

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson and Japan boss Jamie Joseph are the frontrunners to replace Foster, while former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who has also had stints in support roles with the Blues and All Blacks, is also someone who has emerged as a dark horse for the position.

Schmidt coached the All Blacks during last year’s first Test against Ireland in New Zealand, after Foster and some of his coaching staff tested positive for Covid-19, and guided the team to their only win in an historic 2-1 series loss.

“Schmidty’s a top bloke, and I’ve got nothing but praise for the man,” said Ioane. “He’s more than capable, but like I said, top man, but my eyes are in here.”

Meanwhile, Blues head coach Leon MacDonald has been mentioned as a possible member of Robertson’s coaching staff, and he has also been linked to the Scotland head-coaching job.

Good man off the field

“He’s a codehead through and through, but he’s a good man off the field as well,” said Ioane. “I think the way he sees the game is different to how I used to approach games and he’s got a different tactical eye to what I’m used to.

“It’s something very refreshing and I’ve learned a hell of a lot. I’m sure whatever his spin on whatever team he’s in will be positive.”

READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific: Leon MacDonald frustrated with Blues loss to Brumbies in the Super Round

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