The All Blacks have a new head coach but it doesn’t seem to be the one the majority of fans had hoped for.
Ian Foster has succeeded Steve Hansen as the man to take charge of the All Blacks, having acted as assistant for the past seven years.
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Foster has been with the All Blacks squad since 2012 and takes over the top job from Hansen, who stepped down after the World Cup in Japan, where New Zealand finished third.
He spent eight years at the Chiefs Super rugby franchise, amassing over 100 games as coach.
Foster said he was humbled to be selected as Head Coach.
“I feel truly privileged and honoured to be given this opportunity and I can’t wait to lead the team into the next chapter of what is a remarkable legacy,” he said.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the All Blacks over the last eight years and I’m excited and energised by a new coaching team who will join me.
🎥 REACTION | "It's an amazing feeling, very humbling."— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) December 11, 2019
Ian Foster has today been named as the All Blacks new Head Coach. Check out his reaction below👇👇
FULL STORY ➡️ https://t.co/Z9LrFJt9m0 pic.twitter.com/e56okIZ3dQ
“It’s incredibly humbling to be appointed to the job and I have a strong desire to serve the jersey well and represent New Zealand to the best of my ability.
Many All Blacks fans were quick to congratulate Foster on the appointment.
However, many felt that Crusaders coach Scott Robertson - whose side clinched their third straight Super Rugby title in 2019 - would have been a superior alternative.
YUCK, poor Robertson clearly the best coach and misses out to Ian Foster of all coaches. What a sham this whole process has been - Razor was no chance and the other 24 invited to apply knew they were no chance too. Id be gutted if he was coaching the chiefs bt nz 😭😭😭— Ben (@2legit2dunk) December 11, 2019
Ian foster - new AB's coach. Not sure aye.— Jak Ob-Vowke (@SHAYKEY_) December 11, 2019
Seriously? Hansen mini me Ian Foster has a stale vibe #AllBlacks— Emms 💚 (@LordeEmms) December 11, 2019
Wish Ian Foster all the best as @AllBlacks head coach. Didn’t think he was the right choice and hope he proves me wrong— Matt Brown (@chahuahua) December 11, 2019
I am disappointed (but not surprised) to hear that Ian Foster will be the next All Blacks coach. NZRU are very risk averse which means more of the old guard. Hard luck Scott Robertson you would have been a breath of fresh air.— Jango (@DeadpanDuck) December 11, 2019
Congrats to Ian Foster on his appointment as the new All Blacks Head Coach.— #RugbyCrusaders (@RugbyCrusaders) December 11, 2019
Not appointing Scott Robertson is the All Blacks' loss 🤨 and is fantastic for the Crusaders! 😃👌🏽 We get to keep Razor for at least two more seasons! 🙌🏽😍 #crusadeon 🔴⚫️
But Super Rugby and Rugby Union are two different story. I think the appointment of Ian Foster as the new Head Coach is a good appointment— Luke (@luqmanabdsalim) December 11, 2019
Ian Foster is the new All Blacks coach aye? 👌🏼 Congrats, Fossy— 𝚏𝚊𝚝 𝚊𝚜𝚜 𝚜𝚊𝚖𝚘𝚊𝚗 𝚔𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚙𝚛𝚒𝚌𝚎 (@GivethNoCareth) December 11, 2019
nice one! Huge Congrats to you Mr Ian Foster, you are going to be awesome! https://t.co/GHiVjmumvQ— Charlotte Ward (@charlottalks) December 11, 2019
I always thought that Scott Robertson is going to be the new Head Coach of All Blacks. Young, experienced and have the winning mentality— Luke (@luqmanabdsalim) December 11, 2019
Ian Foster named as the new All Blacks head coach for two years (2020-21). Many rival teams will be relieved the Kiwis didn’t give the job to Scott Robertson— Jamie Pandaram (@JamiePandaram) December 11, 2019
That’s a big appointment, giving the All Black coaching spot to Ian Foster. Presumably means more of the same awesome brand of rugby from New Zealand but I suspect a lot of Australians were more worried about Scott Robertson getting the job.— Wayne Keith Smith (@WayneKeithSmith) December 11, 2019
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Chairman Brent Impey said Foster was appointed after impressing during a lengthy interview process.
“The NZR Board has today ratified Ian Foster as the new Head Coach of the All Blacks from 2020. He brings world-class international experience to the role, an incredibly strong coaching team, and we think he’ll do an outstanding job.”
Impey said Foster had been appointed for a two-year period and would be joined by four other coaches, whose names will be announced in due course.
“The interview process was extensive and really difficult, which reflects the very strong applications from both candidates,” Impey added.
“While we can’t confirm the full make-up of the coaching team today, we’re delighted with the quality they bring − they have a wide range of coaching experiences and are a diverse group of thinkers.
Despite working under Hansen during a period of unprecedented All Blacks' success, including winning the 2015 World Cup, Foster represents a controversial choice for many Kiwi rugby fans.
Critics point to an uninspiring eight-year spell in charge of the Waikato Chiefs, when their best result was a losing appearance in the 2009 final.
However, NZR are gambling that he can maintain the success achieved under Hansen and repeat the smooth transition his predecessor made from assistant to head coach.