WELLINGTON (AP) – Ian Foster said the “weight is off” the shoulders of the All Blacks as they head into a Rugby Championship test against Argentina on Saturday with him confirmed as head coach for another year.
The board of New Zealand Rugby (NZR) last week gave Foster its full endorsement, confirming he will coach the team through next year’s World Cup in France. The decision was announced despite a run of two wins in seven tests for the All Blacks.
A win over the World Cup champion Springboks in Johannesburg and the support of his players likely saved Foster’s job.
Despite his confidence that the coaching issue is now behind the All Blacks, a loss to Argentina at Christchurch this weekend or at any stage of the Rugby Championship likely would revive the question of Foster’s future among fans.
Immediately after NZR’s expressed support for the head coach who has only a 65 per cent win rate, an informal poll on a New Zealand media website showed 81 per cent of respondents believed Foster should have been fired.
Foster said the match against Argentina’s Pumas, who are coming off a 48-17 win over Australia, is just “another test”.
“I’m not sure what we’re talking about with the weight off the shoulders,” he told reporters yesterday.
“There’s always plenty of tenseness and pressure around playing for the All Blacks but it’s learning how to deal with that. It comes in different forms and shapes – sometimes it’s geared at people, sometimes it’s geared at performance.
“We know one win doesn’t mean a lot. We want to keep growing and climbing through this year.”