Ian Foster lands first job since Rugby World Cup heartbreak and links up with fellow ex-All Blacks head coach – report

Colin Newboult
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster ahead of the clash with the Springboks in New Zealand - rugby championship

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster in training.

Ian Foster will take on his first official role since the Rugby World Cup and link up with a familiar face after signing a deal in Japan, according to reports in New Zealand.

The 58-year-old had a turbulent time in the All Blacks hotseat and was almost sacked in July 2022, but he managed to turn it around in 2023.

Foster, with the help of assistants Jason Ryan and Joe Schmidt, guided New Zealand into the World Cup final where they narrowly succumbed 12-11 to the Springboks.

He was replaced by Scott Robertson following the global tournament but admitted that he had not agreed his next move when departing the job.

‘No secret plans’

“I’ve got lots of ideas but first I’m going to mow my lawns,” Foster said in 2023. “I will be coaching though, by the way.

“Any time I got offered any opportunity to coach after the World Cup, I said I wasn’t interested, until after the World Cup, to talk about it. I felt the team deserved to have an All Black[s] head coach that they knew was 100 per cent committed to this team right now.

“There are no secret plans. It may be my stubborn pride but I didn’t want them reading that I was talking to someone else because I don’t think that’s conducive to a team environment. Technically I’ll get home and on the 1st of November be unemployed.”

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Over five months on from that agonising loss to South Africa and the ex-Chiefs boss has found a new position.

According to New Zealand Herald, Foster has signed a contract with Toyota Verblitz in Japan Rugby League One and is expected to replace ex-Hurricanes flanker Ben Herring as head coach.

He will link up with his good friend and fellow ex-All Blacks head coach Sir Steve Hansen, who led New Zealand to the 2015 World Cup title.

They worked together at the national team from 2012 to 2019 before Hansen’s departure allowed Foster to take over after the global tournament in Japan.

The duo will now rekindle their partnership, with Hansen currently the director of rugby at Toyota having been at the club since 2019.

Star players

It is a side which has invested heavily and demands success, but they have endured a mixed season despite having a plethora of stars on their books.

Beauden Barrett, who will return home ahead of the All Blacks’ July series, and Aaron Smith are the half-back combination, while Springboks’ two-time World Cup winner Pieter-Steph du Toit is also there.

Alongside Du Toit in the back-row is Brave Blossoms star and former Highlander Kazuki Himeno, with Josh Dickson and Tom Robinson other well known names from Super Rugby in the squad.

Despite that talent, they reside in seventh place on the overall standings following just six victories in 12 games, which is why they have decided to act to bring in Foster ahead of next season.

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