Foster pleads with NZ Rugby over coaching future
All Blacks coach Ian Foster has spoken out against New Zealand Rugby, imploring employers not to search for his successor as he prepares the team for the World Cup.
On the eve of a crunch NZ Rugby board meeting on Thursday, Foster says he's sensed "a mood for change" and it is "highly unlikely" he will hold the job beyond the France-hosted tournament which begins in September.
Local media have reported NZR are keen to appoint Foster's successor before the tournament, with six-time Super Rugby champion coach Scott Robertson the hottest of favourites.
Robertson fanned the flames a fortnight ago when he told journalists an announcement from the governing body could come "in the next few days".
"I'm waiting for (NZR) to make the announcements really ... I haven't signed anything yet," he said.
Robertson had also been linked to the Fiji job, and has spoken of his eagerness to lead at least two different countries to the World Cup in his career.
The speculation behind the most coveted position in New Zealand sport has frustrated Foster, who gave interviews to the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB on Wednesday.
The 57-year-old said if he won the Cup, he deserved the opportunity to "have another crack" and it was "unnecessary" to move on the job now.
"A particular frustration is that there seems to be a focus on setting timetables based on what some preferred candidates feel is right for them versus potentially what is right for this All Blacks team," Foster said, in thinly-veiled criticism of Robertson.
"It's highly unlikely that I'm going to be the next All Blacks coach. But that's to me is not my concern.
"Those conversations are best had after a World Cup when everyone is clear ... it is an unnecessary burden that you put on your own shoulders that we don't need.
"Why give a sucker a chance. There is no need to do that. For me it is quite simple, let us prepare 100 per cent for this World Cup."
The interviews are the latest act in a circus that has followed Foster for two years.
Steve Hansen's assistant, promoted to the top job in 2020, is largely unloved by the Kiwi public and holds the worst winning percentage as All Blacks coach for three decades.
A run of six losses in eight games - including a home series defeat to Ireland and a first ever home loss to Argentina - slumped the side to an all-time low of fourth in the World Rugby standings.
However, Foster has led the side to three straight southern hemisphere championships and held onto the Bledisloe Cup for another three years under his tenure.
NZR opted to stick with Foster through to the World Cup after a stirring 35-23 win at Ellis Park last August, however the governing body appears certain to move on after the World Cup in France.