‘S*** what they did’ – New Wallabies coach slams New Zealand Rugby over Ian Foster treatment

Colin Newboult
Former All Blacks head coach Ian Foster before a Test match.

Former All Blacks head coach Ian Foster before a Test match.

New Wallabies coach Mike Cron insisted that Ian Foster was treated appallingly during his time in charge of the All Blacks.

Foster was part of the backroom team from 2012 to 2019 before Sir Steve Hansen’s departure following the Rugby World Cup paved the way for him to become head coach.

The 58-year-old duly took over ahead of the 2020 Test season but it was not a popular appointment among the fans and it was never smooth sailing throughout his tenure.

Almost sacked

In 2022, he was almost sacked following a dreadful run of form which included a series defeat to Ireland and a reversal at the hands of the Springboks – the first time they had lost three in a row since 1998.

A victory over South Africa a week later rescued his job, with New Zealand Rugby backing the former Chiefs boss until the end of the Rugby World Cup, where they reached the final.

However, the governing body took the strange step to announce their next head coach well in advance of the global tournament, a decision Foster was unimpressed with.

Scott Robertson was always likely to take over but his predecessor was unhappy in the manner that it was done and Cron agreed.

The 69-year-old, who worked alongside Foster at the All Blacks for seven years, felt they could have handled it far better.

“[He’s] a great man, great coach,” Cron told Newstalk ZB. “He was hard done by. It was s*** what they did to him, I thought, between the media and NZR.

“He didn’t deserve it. [He’s] a far greater man than that. Hopefully they never go down that path again.”

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Joining Joe Schmidt

Cron has followed Joe Schmidt in joining the All Blacks’ arch-rivals after he became part of the Wallabies’ backroom team.

Schmidt’s defection to their trans-Tasman neighbours – after helping New Zealand to the 2023 World Cup final – hurt a number of the players.

Scott Barrett and Dane Coles were among those to express their disappointment in seeing the ex-Ireland boss move to Australia.

Cron’s subsequent arrival will not quite cause the same furore, given that he left his All Blacks role in 2019, but it raised the question as to whether NZR’s treatment of Foster influenced his decision.

“Not at all. I’ve got no problems,” he said. “They just didn’t handle that very well (Foster’s departure). It was clunky.”

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