New Zealand Rugby on Wednesday backed Ian Foster as the right man to coach the All Blacks ahead of next year’s World Cup, but said he would have more hands-on support from selector and strategist Joe Schmidt.

Foster has been under a lot of pressure after the All Blacks suffered three successive defeats against Ireland and South Africa, but was relieved after beating the Springboks at Ellis Park last Saturday.

Local media had suggested Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was ready to replace him, but New Zealand Rugby’s board unanimously backed Foster at a meeting on Wednesday, officials said.

“Some of the moves we’ve seen in recent weeks give us a lot of confidence going forward,” New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson told reporters.

“We’ve had really fantastic conversations with (Foster) … We’re supporting (the staff) until the World Cup.”

Foster, who was seated next to Robinson, said he was thrilled with the endorsement from the CEO and board.

“I just want to remind people that it’s an honor to be in this job … I believe in my plan and I believe we have a lot of support,” he said.

Appointed in 2019 after his former boss Steve Hansen stepped down following the World Cup in Japan, Foster has struggled to replicate the results of his predecessor following the retirement of a number of world-class players.

He survived the NZR review after the 2-1 home series defeat against Ireland in July, replacing his former assistant coaches John Plumtree and Brad Moore.

Robertson’s former assistant coach, Jason Ryan, came in as the hitting coach, and Schmitt was assigned to work with Foster on strategy and offense as part of the change.

Former Ireland manager Schmidt did not travel with the team to South Africa but will now play a bigger role in the build-up to the match, which Foster welcomed.

“I’m glad he’s here for the right reasons, he complements the group we have,” Foster said.

NZR and Robinson have come under fire from former players and pundits for their handling of the Foster matter, with Robinson repeatedly refusing to back him as coach at a press conference on Sunday.

After the match at Ellis Park, Foster said he had “no idea” whether he would coach the All Blacks in their next Rugby Championship test against Argentina on August 27.

“The reality is that we’re dealing with a lot of different aspects of this situation that, frankly, we can’t share much or talk about much,” Robinson said.

“Sometimes we don’t succeed because of this. But it’s not for lack of commitment to want the best for the team.”

Source by [author_name]

Previous articleCosatu calls on workers to unite, hold leaders accountable – SABC News
Next articleTrump-backed candidate beats Republican Liz Cheney in US primaries – SABC News