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New Zealand

Cooper, Foster extend NZRU contracts

19th March 2007 06:49

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Two of New Zealand's leading rugby coaches, Colin Cooper and Ian Foster, have extended their contracts with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

Cooper, who is head coach of the Hurricanes, has re-signed with the NZRU until 2008, while Chiefs head coach Foster has committed until 2009. Both coaches are also co-coaches of New Zealand rugby's second team behind the All Blacks - the Junior All Blacks.

NZRU Deputy Chief Executive Steve Tew said Cooper and Foster had made significant contributions to the Hurricanes and Chiefs in the Super 14 over the years and both played key roles in the success of the Junior All Blacks.

"Colin and Ian are two of our most talented coaches and are highly regarded in this country and internationally. We are delighted that they will remain involved in New Zealand rugby," Tew said.

Colin Cooper guided the Hurricanes to Super 14 semi-final appearances in 2003 and 2005, as well as the 2006 Final, and was assistant coach of the Crusaders when they won the competition in 2002.

Ian Foster coached the Chiefs to their first semi-final appearance in 2004.

The Junior All Blacks have been unbeaten since the team was reinstituted in 2005 as New Zealand's second national team.

As co-coaches, Cooper and Foster led the team to a 2-0 series win against Australia 'A' in 2005 and were in charge when the team won the inaugural International FRugby Board (IRB) Pacific Five Nations tournament in 2006. They will again coach the Junior All Blacks in the expanded Pacific Nations Cup this year.

Cooper and Foster said they were delighted to remain involved in New Zealand rugby.

Said Cooper: "I'm delighted to have signed for another year with the NZRU. It's been a privilege to have been with the Hurricanes for so many years and I'm looking forward to working with these players again in 2008."

Foster added: "I have a real passion for the Chiefs and for New Zealand rugby in general. I'm committed to building on the foundations we have already established in the Chiefs franchise and look forward to playing a key role in the future of the Chiefs."

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