Grant Fox

CAPS 46

NZ Rugby World - - Outside Influences -

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.

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