New Zealand’s biggest newspaper has called time on All Blacks coach Ian Foster and wants New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to axe the beleaguered coach.
The many Kiwis dissatisfied with Foster may soon get their wish, with local media reporting NZR should sack him if the All Blacks lose again this weekend in South Africa.
On Monday, the New Zealand Herald splashed a picture of a befuddled Foster on the front page with a rare editorial declaring: “It’s time for change”.
“The Herald takes no pleasure in calling for him to go but Foster – a decent man who is out of his depth in a brutal business – must exit,” it reads.
The Herald declares the All Blacks “play bad rugby”, the latest example being a 26-10 loss to South Africa on Sunday morning (AEST), New Zealand’s worst defeat to South Africa in 94 years.
The loss is New Zealand’s third straight defeat – their worst run since 1998 – in an ugly run of five losses in six.
“It’s the manner of the defeats that rally counts,” the editorial continues.
“Foster’s men are too easily put off their stride and too often cluttered and confused.”
In short: the All Blacks don’t look like All Blacks any more.
And they’re no longer ranked accordingly.
The three-time World Cup winners, who sat atop the world rankings from 2010 to 2018, will drop to their lowest ever ranking of fifth in Monday’s update, behind Ireland, France, South Africa and England.
Australia lurk one rung lower in sixth.
Radio NZ reports NZR will sack Foster with another loss against the world champion Springboks in Johannesburg this weekend.
Foster was appointed in 2019 when New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chiefs opted for the long-term assistant to incumbent Steven Hansen over against Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.
Foster began his reign with a 16-16 draw against Australia in Wellington and claimed the 2020 Tri-Nations series, without South Africa, despite losses to the Wallabies and Argentina.
Despite another Rugby Championship win in 2021, signs of under performance were evident in New Zealand’s northern hemisphere tour, which ended with losses to Ireland and France.
The form slump has continued this season with a home series loss, New Zealand’s first in nearly three decades, to Ireland, and now the loss in South Africa.
Infuriating many, Foster declared this weekend’s loss to be “our most improved performance this year“.
“I felt in some areas we really shifted our game forward. In a game dominated by defence, we defended well, but our timing was out on the attack side and we’re going to have to have a look at that,” he said at Mbombela Stadium.
Foster said the All Blacks “know there’s a lot of pressure on and we’re feeling that” but wouldn’t be deterred in Sunday’s clash at Ellis Park.
“We’ve just got to have a deep breath,” he said.
“This (team) is still growing. It’s not where we want it to be but I still believe it can get there.”