Rugby: Stephen Jones says time is running out for Ian Foster as All Blacks coach


All Blacks head coach Ian Foster. Photo / Sportsman

British rugby critic Stephen Jones is predicting an early end to Ian Foster’s tenure as All Blacks coach if the team’s losing streak continues.

After losses to Ireland and France to end a grueling nearly three-month spell on the road, many pundits’ microscope has focused on the All Blacks in a series of season reviews .

Jones, writing in his column for The Sunday Times, praised the impressive performances of the Irish and French before questioning whether the All Blacks are now out of the crowd when it comes to the best teams in the world.

His response was to put the losses into the perspective of the team’s rich winning history while seeing a ruthless end to Foster’s reign if winning traditions are not quickly restored.

“It’s something for them to cherish when their most disastrous losing streak doesn’t date back to the dawn of time, but just two games away.

“But if this losing streak were to last even longer, the All Blacks wouldn’t wait as long to take out their head coach Ian Foster, the man with the hidden personality, as Manchester United did when sending Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “

Jones’ dig into Foster’s temper follows his assessment of Foster as a questionable appointment as head coach of the All Blacks in December 2019.

“Foster has been a conscientious member of Hansen’s back room but has negligible experience outside of the New Zealand rugby greenhouse. Certainly in profile he is tiny on the world stage,” Jones said in the Sunday Times.

England columnist and former British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan agreed in his end of the season that Foster and the All Blacks are currently under heavy pressure; but supported the side to quickly return to form.

“You can’t judge the All Blacks on the basis of a fall campaign in which they were clearly running on steam. At their best, New Zealand are still playing a brand of rugby that others can only afford. suck, “McGeechan wrote in the Daily Telegraph. .

“Overtaken by Ireland and France, Ian Foster has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He also has to settle for a first-rate balanced midfielder.”

Finally, John Westerby, also writing for The Sunday Times, predicted plenty of turbulence ahead for Foster as he tries to build the squad towards another World Cup campaign.

“Since Foster stepped down as assistant to Steve Hansen after the 2019 World Cup, this is the second time the All Blacks have suffered back-to-back defeats, losing to Australia and Argentina on weekends. consecutive last year.

“Before that, the All Blacks had not lost two games in a row since 2011, hence the lengthy discussions one can now expect about where the team is heading. Foster’s bosses at New Zealand Rugby do ‘have no history of knee-jerk reactions, but Scott Robertson, the charismatic coach of the Crusaders, the serial Super Rugby champions, has plenty of supporters.

“Questions will be asked as to whether Foster has advanced the team enough since taking office. Indeed, any lack of progress would raise questions about the wisdom of Foster being named head coach after a World Cup in the course of which the All Blacks were beaten down in the semi-final by England, a result below their own high standards.

“Next year, he hopes a fading pandemic will allow for a more regular schedule in which his team can reassert themselves. But the next few months, with no rugby to play, could prove to be his most difficult time. at work.”