New Zealand Rugby board slammed for Ian Foster coaching fiasco, Rugby Championship, news

Australian coach Matt Williams has joined the chorus of rugby identities, including former New Zealand Rugby boss David Moffett, in slamming the current administration for keeping Ian Foster in limbo regarding his future as All Blacks.

Despite prevailing over a thrilling 35-23 victory over the Springboks at Ellis Park in the second round of the Rugby Championship, Foster, at least publicly, has yet to be told whether he will continue coaching the All Blacks throughout the tournament.

The under-siege All Blacks coach, who presided over their first home series loss since 1994 after losing to Ireland 2-1 last month, said he had “no idea” whether he would coach the national side following the dramatic victory in Johannesburg on Sunday (AEST).

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson only inflamed the situation, and subsequently turned the focus away from the victory, by calling a Sunday evening media conference in which he said nothing at all.

Instead, he failed to endorse Foster and neither backed or sacked the coach, explaining more meetings would occur over the coming days.

“We believe we know where we stand and just got to work through it,” Robinson said.

“At this point the main priority is to get everyone home. We will then take stock, meet with management as soon as we reasonably can after getting home and debrief how the tour went and where we see things.

“We’ll be making no further comment until that time which is likely to be the middle to latter part of this week.”

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NZRU CEO Mark Robinson (L) is coming under criticism for his handling of Ian Foster’s (R) future as All Blacks coach. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The response likely came after the All Blacks, as well as Robinson, were criticized for their silence following the series loss to Ireland in July. Ultimately, Foster parted ways with two of his assistants, including senior coach John Plumtree, and brought in Scott Robertson’s right-hand man at the Crusaders Jason Ryan.

A board meeting on Wednesday – 10 days out from the All Blacks’ next Test against Michael Cheika’s Argentina Pumas – is expected to determine Foster’s fate.

“I’ve heard a lot about this non-event that was the presser that he (Robinson) held and I think all he did was make things dramatically worse,” Moffett told Newstalk ZB.

“Whether any of the fans think it would be Foster or it should be Scott Robertson, the fact of the matter remains that Foster has been left out to dry by Robinson and I don’t think that’s good enough.

“I think the average person would just sort of say, ‘well, why don’t you make a decision and either sack him or back him’.”

All Blacks captain Sam Cane (C) holds the ‘Freedom Cup’ as he celebrates victory over the Springboks. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

Before jumping on a plane to return to New Zealand, Foster said he was planning as if he would coach the All Blacks for the upcoming Tests against the Pumas.

“I haven’t heard or read those comments, but he’s got a job to do,” Foster told reporters in Johannesburg when asked about Robinson’s remarks.

“I’m about to hop on a plane and go home.

“I’ll be given feedback, no doubt, but my expectations are that I’m the All Blacks head coach and later in the week I’ll be going to Christchurch and assembling the team until I’m told different.”

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Ian Foster (coach) in the post match press conference following the All Blacks’ win over the Springboks at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Moffett, who was NZR chief executive between 1996-2000, said he had “no idea” whether a decision had already been made behind the scenes and added “by the sound of it, neither does Ian Foster, which I think is absolutely deplorable” .

“This guy has been left hanging now for weeks and weeks,” Moffett said.

“Unfortunately New Zealand Rugby is actually looking like they’re a government department – ​​can’t make a decision…

“Oh ‘we’ll just hold a review then we’ll hold another review.’ I mean the reviews are coming out of their ears.

“They should’ve already known what they were going to do. The fact that they didn’t is incompetent.”

Ian Foster (C) embraces scrum-half Aaron Smith following the All Blacks’ win over the Springboks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on August 13, 2022. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

Moffett was not alone in his scathing criticism of the NZR, with former Waratahs and Ireland coach Williams believing they had gone away from what held them in good stead in 2007.

“Your CEO and your board are the leaders of your organisation, and they have to show leadership. Right now they’re not,” he said on Irish sports show Off The Ball.

“They’re being caught in the firestorm that is the rugby media in New Zealand, instead of standing up to them like the leadership did in 2007. They wanted to sack Richie McCaw in 2007, they wanted to sack Graham Henry and Steve Hansen. Both of those coaches who were with the team at that time then went on to win World Cups.

“That leadership that the NZRU showed then, they’re certainly not showing now. And here’s the thing, their team is. So there is a vacuum of leadership and their team is stepping up and their coach has stepped up.”

He added: “There’s a huge problem with New Zealand rugby, not necessarily with their team, but certainly with other aspects of their leadership.”

Their comments come after World Cup-winning All Blacks coach Steve Hansen claimed the relationship between the NZR board and the players was at an all-time low.

“They’ve come out and aired all their dirty washing in the front part of the property rather than out the back,” Hansen said of recent reviews into Ian Foster and former Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore, the latter parting ways with the team in World Cup year.

“So their job [NZ Rugby] is to run it with strength and leadership but in a way that you’re going to look after the people that work for you.

“Otherwise, you’ll end up with a high turnover of staff which I think they’re having at the moment.

“So, the relationship between the board and the exec and players at the moment is probably the worst it’s ever been.”

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