There are few people in the world who can read a game of rugby or analyse it more e ectively than Grant Fox.
For almost a decade he was the tactical director for a hugely successful Auckland team and also the All Blacks through a period when they were almost unbeatable.
Foxy, as he’s universally known, was the steady hand on the tiller. He was the man who guided a brutal pack and devastating backline around the field.
He was a mix of deep understanding and immaculate skills. His distribution was good, his kicking out of hand varied and excellent under pressure. Foxy slotted his goals.
He was ice cool in the heat of battle, always seemed to know what he wanted to do and what he wanted those around him to be doing. Other first-fives o ered more threat with their running, but Fox was more confronting for opposition defences because of his game management and ability to pick the right weapon at the right time.
As a sign of the standing in which he is held, Fox was persuaded to take a role as an independent All Blacks selector in 2012 – a post which he continues to hold. Incoming head coach Steve Hansen wanted to make use of Fox’s astute reading of players and ability to spot potential strengths that less shrewd analysts would miss.
“Grant Fox is not only a legend of our game but also one of the most astute people,” said Hansen in 2012. “I wanted to find someone independent from the team who had the ability to break down a player’s game, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and bring a fresh viewpoint to the selection process, and he’s that man.”
Since Fox took on the role, the All Blacks have had a near perfect selection record in that they have rarely picked any player who has clearly not been up to it or obviously not equipped.
GREAT JUDGE No one analyses the game better than Grant Fox.