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New All Blacks coach Ian Foster says he’s happy that the players backed his appointment to the top job.
OPINION: Ian Foster is the new All Blacks coach but the process has thrown up as many questions as answers. Stuff rugby writers answer the tough questions about NZ Rugby’s decision to favour Ian Foster over Scott Robertson in a coach search that has prompted plenty of criticism.
1. Ian Foster v Scott Robertson. So, did New Zealand Rugby get the right man?
Marc Hinton:The next two years will tell us that, but they certainly think so. Everything I heard suggested this was a done deal long before the process began, which was probably why so few potential contenders bothered going through it. Look, there’s no doubt Razor Robertson would have been an invigorating, fresh and bold choice who would have brought a totally different approach. But if Foster is true to his word he is also going to change things up a bit. And that support team of his we’re told ticks all the boxes. Whether he’s the right man or not, it’s Foster’s team for the next two years and we will now get to see whether he’s improved as a head coach. Given the talent he’ll have and the head start he makes, I’m backing him to succeed.
Richard Knowler:Foster is a veteran of two World Cup campaigns with the All Blacks, and spent eight years getting an insight to what creates success and failure in test rugby. That’s not to say Robertson wouldn’t have done a good job. It’s just that the other bloke always had the inside running.
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Paul Cully:There are five better head coaches than Foster – Warren Gatland, Jamie Joseph, Dave Rennie, Scott Robertson and Joe Schmidt – but when it came down to the duel between Robertson and Foster, Razor’s advantage was erased by the strong team Foster put together. That’s an unsatisfactory answer but so was the process.
Liam Hyslop: They got their man, and that’s all that matters to them. Robertson might have the better head coaching record, but who knows if he’s really the better All Blacks coach?
2. What is Foster’s first big call as All Blacks coach?
MH:You would normally say his captain. But in either Sam – Whitelock or Cane – he has a pretty established leadership figure who should get the
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