New Zealand Rugby on Sunday refused to back Ian Foster as All Blacks head coach despite their triumphant 35-23 win over the Springboks in Johannesburg.
NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said Foster’s future would be determined in consultation with team management once they return to New Zealand, with an announcement on the head coaching role to be made by the NZR Board mid to late next week.
“We will analyze the situation and the information coming from the camp and make a decision,” Robinson told reporters.
“The most we can really say is that we are focused on getting everyone home and we will have a number of conversations over the next few days.
“We just need to work through this little period to figure out what the next steps are with this management team.”
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Robinson praised the team’s win at Ellis Park on Saturday, which came a week after they opened the Rugby Championship with a 26-10 loss to the Springboks in Mbombela.
The defeat was New Zealand’s fifth in six Tests – including three against Ireland and one each against France and South Africa – which saw them drop to fifth in the world rankings.
There have been widespread calls for NZR to sack Foster, who has struggled for consistent results and public support since his promotion from assistant coach in 2020 following Steve Hansen’s highly successful reign.
Before the team left for South Africa, Robinson refused to support Foster’s future beyond the two Tests there.
Robinson did not say on Sunday whether a defeat in Johannesburg would have ended the coach’s difficult tenure, nor did he reveal whether he was ready to accept the board’s recommendation.
Robinson said not only Foster’s position would be reviewed in the coming days, but NZR officials would assess “everything that’s going on in the environment”.
If Foster loses his job, his replacement will have just over a week to prepare for the next Test against Argentina in Christchurch on August 27.
Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and highly successful Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson are the preferred candidates for the job.
In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s win, Foster said he “didn’t know” if he would stay in charge.
He talked about the stress he had been under over the past month and hit out at what he called personal attacks on him in the media.
“It comes with work, but it’s been a pretty tough push, especially from the New Zealand media,” Foster told reporters.
“I think calling them ‘pop-up gun picks’ is very insulting to players who give their all for the country. But these times are the best test of character.
“I am very proud of the performance. I couldn’t be more proud. To do it on a high when the game is wobbly – there were times when we could have won and times when we could have lost.”