IAN FOSTER will be in charge of the All Blacks’ bid to reclaim the Rugby World Cup after he secured an extension to his contract.
he coach replaced his former boss Steve Hansen in the role after the 2019 competition on a two-year deal despite a clamour for the appointment of Crusaders’ boss Scott Robertson.
New Zealand have only played against Australia and Argentina since the third-place play-off win over Wales in Tokyo in November 2019 as a result of the country’s strict quarantine rules around Covid-19.
They are due in Dublin this November, while they will host a three-Test series against Andy Farrell’s Ireland next summer.
“Ian has faced extraordinary times since he was first appointed, with the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the numerous challenges it has thrown up, and he’s shown remarkable composure and resolve to lead incredibly well through it all,” NZ Rugby chief Mark Robinson said.
“Foz has built an outstanding culture and environment in the team with an inclusive and collaborative approach and maintained a steady, clear focus on our goal of being Number 1 in the world again.
“There is no doubt Foz and his team are performing extremely well in trying conditions and we are pleased to send a strong signal of support to create certainty in our environment and allow the management team and player group to plan for the future.
“On behalf of NZR and the Board, I want to congratulate Foz and his team and wish them all the best for the rest of this season and beyond.”
Foster, who played for and coached Waikato Chiefs before becoming an All Blacks assistant in 2012, was happy to extend.
“Firstly, I want to acknowledge the Board and NZR for the faith they have shown in reappointing me. It’s a privilege to be part of the All Blacks and I don’t take that for granted,” he said.
“It’s clearly been a challenging couple of years with Covid-19, but I’ve been hugely proud of the resilience shown by the team. I’m personally driven to have our team continue to succeed as we build to Rugby World Cup 2023.
“What is equally important to me is the fact that I’m just one part of an outstanding coaching and management team and to continue working with them is a privilege and inspires me to be the best head coach I can be, Foster said.
“We have the immediate challenge of this year’s Rugby Championship and then the tour North, but 2022 and 2023 will bring their own challenges. I’m really excited to be leading the team into the future and can’t wait to get stuck into our work.”