Ian Foster open to coaching against the All Blacks despite rejecting ‘some options’

Jared Wright
All Blacks playmaker Damian McKenzie and former head coach Ian Foster during the 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between New Zealand and Namibia at the Stadium de Toulouse in Toulouse, France on September 15, 2023.

All Blacks playmaker Damian McKenzie and former head coach Ian Foster.

Ian Foster has revealed that he turned down offers with other international teams after his stint as the All Blacks head coach.

Ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, New Zealand Rugby announced that Scott Robertson would be replacing Foster after the tournament in France.

The 58-year-old openly criticised NZ Rugby’s decision to announce the change of coaches before the tournament in France, with the union also speaking to Robertson during the All Blacks’ rough patches in 2022, but Foster was saved from the axe by his players.

This led to a strained relationship between Foster and NZ Rugby with the coach stating after the World Cup that he would not be looking for a position in New Zealand under the current regime.

Open to international return

He also said that he did not entertain offers or talks with teams about his future in the build-up to or during the World Cup as he wanted to focus on the tournament.

“I can’t see me coaching in New Zealand again, certainly not in the short-term,” he told The Platform in November last year.

“I’ve had a great stint with the All Blacks but it’s perhaps no surprise to people that we haven’t seen eye-to-eye with some of the administrators.

“I’m pretty much at peace that that’s kind of it in New Zealand at the moment. I will look overseas and talk to people overseas.”

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Foster has since landed his first job since his stint with the All Blacks and will link up with Sir Steve Hansen at Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

Having rejected any talks with international teams and clubs last year, Foster says he is open to coaching a Test side again but explains that he would not take on one of those roles any time soon.

“Potentially,” he told Newstalk ZB when asked if he would coach another international team.

“I’d never say never. Coaching is a lot about timing. It’s about getting the right organisation and those sorts of things.

“For me, I’ve never tried to look too far ahead in that space. That’s why I’ve never been a fan of long-term contracts for coaches.

“I just think we’ve got to look at the future, long-term, from a strategic side, but we’ve got to go down and coach day by day, week by week and year by year. That’s all I want to do.

“What happens in two or three years I’m not too sure [about], we’ll find out.”

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Not ready just yet

However, he explained that he built strong relationships with many of the All Blacks players who are likely to still be in the squad under Robertson and would find it “hard” to coach against them.

He also revealed that there were some options on the table with overseas teams.

“There were some options to be involved with a few other international teams, in various different shapes or forms,” Foster added.

“But it just didn’t fit well with me. To classify, I wouldn’t say I’d never coach against the All Blacks. I don’t think that would be true.

“With the number of players that I’ve been involved with over the last two or three years, there’s half a dozen that left after the World Cup, but there’s still a large number that are still there that I feel pretty closely involved with still, and want them to succeed.

“I’d find it hard to coach against some of those players at this stage of their careers.”

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