Rugby-Don't panic! All Blacks coach Foster calls for calm after 'unique' season

  • Rugby
  • Tuesday, 23 Nov 2021

Rugby Union - Autumn International - France v New Zealand - Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France - November 20, 2021 New Zealand head coach Ian Foster during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

(Reuters) - New Zealand coach Ian Foster believes 2021 was a unique season and there is no need for panic just because the All Blacks lost their last two tests of their European tour against Ireland and France.

Foster has come under a barrage of criticism back home after the 40-25 loss to France on Saturday with calls in the media for him to be replaced by Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.

"I get the fact that people are upset because we lost two games, and it's hard to explain the circumstances that we've been in," Foster, who is contracted until after the 2023 World Cup, told New Zealand's Sky Sport.

"I don't want to be coming across as if we're giving excuses for that but this has been a remarkably difficult year in many ways.

"We've been on the road for 13 weeks, we've had two lots of five test matches in a row, and we've run out of steam in two at the end."

Foster, who led the All Blacks to 12 wins and three losses in 2021, said the southern hemisphere teams had probably played too much rugby this year given the quarantine and restrictions they were forced to endure.

"Clearly, the northern hemisphere teams in this particular window were a lot fresher than the southern hemisphere teams," he added.

"I don't believe it's all doom and gloom. I'm really proud of what this group's done. It's been an absolutely unique time, having three months mostly hotel-based. We've had to rotate our squad more for the health of the group.

"Short term that probably hurt a bit, long term that's going to build us some really good depth and options."

Foster said he was committed to completing the job of delivering a strong team for the 2023 World Cup and was not going to be "swayed off task by a couple of performances at the end of the year".

"I know that everyone bays for blood at times like this, and that's the nature of the job," he said.

"But our goal is to make sure that we've got the right plan going forward to do well in the World Cup."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Rugby

Rugby-France Six Nations preparations hit by COVID-19 cases
Postponement of ARC like a ‘scrum interrupted’ for Malaysia Rugby
Rugby-Two Champions Cup games called off due to COVID
Rugby-England suffer blow to Six Nations preparations with Farrell injury
Rugby-England sweat over Farrell fitness ahead of Six Nations
Rugby-Redpath returns as Scotland name five new caps for Six Nations
Rugby-Six uncapped players in England squad, Farrell to captain
Rugby-Fiji pull out of World Rugby Sevens in Malaga due to COVID-19
Rugby-Sale Sharks suspend player after arrest and police investigation
Rugby-Five Champions Cup matches cancelled, declared 0-0 draws

Others Also Read