Historic failure against Ireland at home (two defeats in three games), coach in the hot seat: New Zealand is facing a crisis just over a year from the 2023 World Cup, so much so that the Federation has decided on an “immediate” takeover. “The All Blacks’ performance in this series was clearly not acceptable,” New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson said in a statement on Sunday.
If the teammates of captain Sam Cane, strongly reprimanded during this tour for performances deemed mediocre, even insufficient, are the subject of criticism, coach Ian Foster, appointed in 2019 to succeed Steve Hansen at the end of the World Cup, is him on an ejection seat. The extension of his contract, in August 2021, until the 2023 World Cup, had already been disputed. Foster’s record as Black leader fuels debate. In 24 games, he conceded 7 defeats for 1 draw and 16 wins, a ratio of 66.7%, when his predecessors Graham Henry and Hansen exceeded 80%.
A canceled press conference
“Our aim is to work with Ian and his team to fully understand, before the Rugby Championship, what we have to improve performance and what to do from now on. We will begin this work immediately,” explained Mark Robinson. The urgency is in order because the New Zealanders will start their next season with two tests on the soil of the South African world champions on August 6 and 13.
Saturday, after the second defeat against the Irish, Foster refused to discuss his future: “I’m only here to talk about the game. On Sunday, a press conference by the New Zealand coach was canceled without explanation. The 57-year-old technician will probably have to explain himself in the coming days to the Federation’s board of directors. A petition has already circulated on the change.org site. His signatories demand that he be replaced by Scott Robertson, the coach of the Crusaders, winners of Super Rugby.