Fos­ter set to be next boss of New Zealand

New Straits Times - - Sport - AFP

WELLING­TON: All Blacks as­sis­tant coach Ian Fos­ter re-signed with New Zealand Rugby yes­ter­day, boost­ing his chances of be­ing the next head coach of the world cham­pion All Blacks.

Fos­ter and for­wards coach Mike Cron both ex­tended their com­mit­ment through to the 2019 World Cup in Ja­pan.

The an­nounce­ment came just four days af­ter de­fence coach Wayne Smith said he needed a break and would step away from the Test en­vi­ron­ment at the end of this year’s Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

Cur­rent head coach Steve Hansen, who guided the All Blacks to the 2015 world crown, is ex­pected to stand down af­ter the 2019 World Cup in Ja­pan.

New Zealand Rugby chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Tew has said he would like the next head coach to be in­volved in the 2019 cam­paign, which would count against other lead­ing con­tenders such as the Wales head coach War­ren Gat­land, who is also in charge of the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions, and the Ire­land head coach Joe Sch­midt.

“Fosie has led the team’s back play and at­tack, which was sec­ond to none last year, with the All Blacks top­ping the in­ter­na­tional try-scor­ing ta­ble with 80 tries, al­most dou­ble their near­est ri­val,” said Tew.

Smith, on an­nounc­ing his de­ci­sion to leave the All Blacks, en­dorsed Fos­ter as head coach ma­te­rial.

“I’ve been re­ally, re­ally im­pressed with Ian Fos­ter.

“He’s a hard worker, he’s got a good an­a­lyt­i­cal brain, a good per­son­al­ity, great con­nec­tions with the play­ers and he’s im­prov­ing im­mensely.

“He would stack up with any coach in the world,” Smith said. Hansen de­scribed Fos­ter as an “in­te­gral mem­ber” of the All Blacks coach­ing and man­age­ment group over the past five years and some­one who “brings a lot of com­po­sure, rugby nous and in­tel­lect to the team.”

Ian Fos­ter

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