May 29, 2023

Why new ABs head coach process is ‘stunningly disrespectful’

Why new ABs head coach process is 'stunningly disrespectful'

The New Zealand Rugby Union are expected to appoint the next All Blacks coach ahead of this year’s World Cup in France, which doesn’t bode well for Ian Foster.

Veteran coach Foster came under immense pressure during the All Blacks’ uncharacteristically poor start to their international season last year.

After losing their final two matches on their end-of-season tour the year before, New Zealand began their 2022 campaign wit a series loss at home against Ireland.

But that was only the start of a disastrous stretch of Test matches.

The men in black lost their next Test against fierce rivals South Africa, before bouncing back with a valiant victory at Ellis Park.

While fans continued to call for a radical change in the coaching ranks ahead of the World Cup, the NZRU publicly threw their support behind Foster.

And they went on to lose to Argentina at home for the first time a couple of weeks later.

The All Blacks seemed to turn a corner in the second-half of the season, but New Zealand rugby fans appear set in their ways.

Supporters appear hellbent on change, and they may be about to get their wish.

According to multiple media reports, the NZRU are expected to appoint the All Blacks head coach for 2024 and beyond within the first half of this year.

NZ Herald scribe Gregor Paul doesn’t believe that Ian Foster can remain in his position after this year’s World Cup, which he said is “stunningly disrespectful.”

“If they’re doing the process now, as they seem committed to be, no. I don’t think anyone can,” Paul said on Weekend Sport with Jason Pine.

“His record today is not outstanding, and I think even he would admit that… That’s unlikely to convince anyone, at this stage, that they want to push on with that.

“There’s obviously been a little feeling of public discontent, media discontent, with the way the team’s performed.

“If you’re going to do the process now over the next few weeks, I can’t see it.

“I think it’s a stunningly disrespectful way to treat the incumbent coaching group. Two, it prevents them from having the ability to apply for their own job.

“That group will never be taken seriously. What they really need is to go to the World Cup and be judged on that.

“It’s weird because the board backed them in August last year… now we’re effectively going to look at that group and cut them off in the next six weeks.”

The All Blacks are a team stepped in tradition, but they’re set to go against their old ways in an attempt to usher in a new era of success.

As Paul understands it, the NZRU will “identify candidates rather than asking for applications” for the All Blacks head coaching position.

This process will be done quite quickly, with a decision set to be made and announced “by April.”

But as Paul discussed, this new approach gives other countries the opportunity to “belittle the All Blacks” throughout the sport’s most prestigious event.

“What does that give other coaching groups? Rival coaching groups (have) a great opportunity to belittle the All Blacks in the media,” he added.

“It’s probably an unsettling environment to end up with that, I don’t think it’s in the best interests of the All Blacks.

“If they decide that they’re going to appoint Razor… why wouldn’t you just say to him, ‘take the team to the World Cup, start now.’

“We’ve already determined that he’s the better guy, why wait?

“All of these things don’t really stack up as a good, logical, high-performance plan that’s giving the All Blacks the best chance of winning the World Cup.”

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