If reports in New Zealand are to be believed, All Blacks coach Ian Foster will be forced to resign in the face of fresh calls for him to be sacked following defeat to the Springboks on Saturday.
the New Zealand Herald suggested that Foster will be asked by New Zealand Rugby to step down, with the embattled All Blacks set to drop to fifth on World Rugby’s Test rankings after a record-breaking 26-10 loss at Mbombela Stadium.
Foster was already under scrutiny after the Ireland series review by NZ Rugby that saw two of his assistant coaches – John Plumtree and Brad Mooar – fired.
NZ Rugby have refused to back Foster beyond the two Rugby Championship Tests in South Africa, and Crusaders boss Scott Robertson is tipped as an obvious choice to replace Foster if New Zealand fail to improve.
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“If Ireland cracked the All Blacks, South Africa certainly broke them and any hope, however forlorn, that a recovery is possible under this coaching regime, has surely gone,” wrote Gregor Paul in the New Zealand Herald.
“It’s time to ring Razor [Robertson]tell him to be waiting with his hand-picked assistants and for him and Jason Ryan to get on with rebuilding a legacy that is in danger of being horribly tainted if there is not definitive action taken.
“There is nothing now that can happen to convince anyone in New Zealand – anyone who knows the game – that the All Blacks are going to miraculously improve without a total and brutal clean-out and reset.
“Confidence has been shattered, all hope lost and it would be madness for New Zealand Rugby to do anything other than get out the checkbook, pay off the termination fees and usher in a new era.”
Paul Cully of stuff.co.nz wrote: “The buck always stops with the head coach. It’s a cliché but this is a results-based business and when results are poor, the man or woman at the top is ultimately accountable.
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“New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson was in Mbombela for the Test, but it’s thought he will head back to Aotearoa before the second Test in Johannesburg next weekend.
“This week, therefore, will be crucial as NZ Rugby weighs up its next move on Foster. Foster’s fate may have been sealed with the latest Test loss.”
Fellow Kiwi scribe Liam Napier added: “In their defining hour, their day of reckoning, the All Blacks barely fired a shot. It wasn’t that the All Blacks were intimidated. It wasn’t they were caught off guard, either.
“The Boks stuck to their unimaginative kick-heavy, forward-dominated blueprint and executed it to perfection. The All Blacks knew it was coming – and still had few answers.”
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