‘Coach speculation an extra burden for All Blacks in World Cup year’

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) should not search for a new coach in the build-up to the World Cup, All Blacks coach Ian Foster has said, adding he is concerned the speculation around who will succeed him will disrupt preparations for the showpiece event.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, widely tipped to take over from Foster, said on February 8 he was expecting an announcement to be made soon. NZR later said an announcement about the head coach or process was not imminent.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph is another possible candidate to replace Foster when his contract runs out after the World Cup, which will be held in France from September 8 to October 28.

“For the last couple of months I have been watching this discussion about the All Blacks coaching process play out publicly,” Foster told NZ Herald on Tuesday.

“It’s an unnecessary burden that you put on your own shoulders that we don’t need.”

Foster, 57, said NZR must put the needs of the team before the needs of “some preferred candidates”. NZR’s next board meeting is on Thursday.

“I have sat back and looked at a whole lot of views that have been put out there,” he said.

“There seems to be a focus on setting timetables based on what some preferred candidates feel is right for them versus potentially what is right for this All Blacks team.

“Those conversations are best had after a World Cup when everyone is clear and we have the latest data and we know where the team is at.”

Foster, who was under intense scrutiny when the All Blacks hit a slump in form last season, said he would be interested in extending his time as head coach should they win the World Cup.

“My job is to focus on what is right for the team. I love this job and I have got a highly motivated coaching group and management team that are working hard, doing everything we can to make this country proud in France,” Foster said.

“We want to do that – bring the World Cup home – and if we do … I’d like the opportunity to say that maybe I would like to have another crack at this job.”


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