All Blacks coach Ian Foster vows to fight on: ‘I’m strong, I’m resilient’

  • ‘I’m the head coach’: Ian Foster remains defiant but says he considered stepping down
  • Sam Cane backed as captain for the Rugby Championship
  • Foster hints at changes among support staff but won’t expand
  • Joe Schmidt’s new job as selector will not be expanded into a coaching role, at this stage
  • Only two changes to squad, with Ethan de Groot and Shannon Frizell coming in

Under fire All Blacks coach Ian Foster admitted he considered standing down after the disappointing series loss to Ireland, but has decided he wants to stay on.

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* Dramatic day looms for NZ Rugby as All Blacks assistants and captain Sam Cane face ax

Foster fronted the media at an Auckland Airport on Friday, speaking for the first time since the post match press conference in Wellington on Saturday night.

During an initial address, Foster stated he was ‘strong’ and ‘resilient’ and doesn’t want to walk away.

“As a head coach, there have been a lot of questions the past couple of weeks,” Foster said.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster says he's accountable for what happens with the team.

RICKY WILSON / Stuff

All Blacks coach Ian Foster says he’s accountable for what happens with the team.

“Let me tell you who I am, I’m strong, I’m resilient, I think I’ve proven that.

“I believe I’ve got a great feel and relationship with my players. I’m strategic and I’m also accountable and I take that on board.

“I promise you, I understand that and I’m really excited about the chance to show you what this team is made of, working alongside the players we’ve selected in this squad.”

Confirming that he did consider his future as All Blacks coach, Foster said feeling the heat is part and parcel of the role.

“There’s no about that I’m under pressure,” he said.

“But can I just say, I’m always under pressure? I’ve always felt that pressure and external people will try to intensify that pressure but it doesn’t change the fact that as an All Blacks coach you live in that world all the time.

Foster says there will be changes inside the All Blacks but he hasn't revealed them.

RICKY WILSON / Stuff

Foster says there will be changes inside the All Blacks but he hasn’t revealed them.

“Does it hurt? Yes it does. The key thing for me is making sure everything I do is about insuring we have robust processes and make sure we have got the right people sitting in the right seats. “

Foster confirmed there would be changes inside the All Blacks, but wouldn’t go into any details of what they would be.

But he did address the messy situation which occurred in Wellington on Sunday, when his press conference was canceled at short notice.

Foster insisted that the cancellation wasn’t something he did, stating he understood the responsibilities that go along with being an All Blacks coach, which includes speaking to the public through the media.

“I understand the frustration (about the canceled press conference),” he said.

“All I want to say on that regard is that I as a head coach would never ever not communicate with my fanbase when it’s expected I communicate with them.

“I know my responsibility is to talk to the fanbase and if I knew I was supposed to to that, I would do that all the time.”

Since the loss in Wellington, calls have been growing among the public for Foster to go, with Crusaders coach Scott Robertson the popular choice to be his replacement.

Foster hasn’t been burying his head in the sand the past week, he’s heard what people have said, but still believes he’s the right man for the job.

A huge number of the New Zealand media came to Auckland Airport on Fridat to hear Ian Foster speak.

RICKY WILSON / Stuff

A huge number of the New Zealand media came to Auckland Airport on Fridat to hear Ian Foster speak.

“I love the passion of our fans and I love the opinions,” he said.

“That is what it is, but I guess all I can assure people is the person that I am and my role in this team.

“I’m not here for any other reason than to do the best I can for this team. Right now, I can understand frustrations that we’ve lost a series, but my job is to put perspective around that, to make sure we take the lessons and this All Blacks team comes out stronger, I want to be part of the solution.

“Will there be some changes? Yes there will, but like I said, I’ll let you know shortly. “

For some who never wanted Foster to get the job in the first place, it could be said they’ve reveled in the All Blacks failing under him. Foster was asked if he felt there were people who want him to fail.

“I’m kind of the Covid coach aren’t I?” He said.

“I don’t know, I can’t control anyone else’s agendas.

“I’ve never seen this as a popularity contest, like I said, the All Black coach is about connecting with a group of players, believing in them and you’ve always got to test to see if you’re the right person. I believe I am.

“But the comment I made about being resilient, well I’ve learned that pretty quickly.”

Meanwhile, Foster confirmed that Joe Schmidt has now officially come on board with the All Blacks.

“There is lots of talk about Joe’s role, but Joe’s role is as was flagged six months ago,” Foster said.

“He’s come in as the independent selector, he also has a secondary role as being an opposition analysis for me, like an opposition head coach and he is working with me behind the scenes on the strategic areas we feel we need to move.

“He’s not traveling with us and at this stage hasn’t got an on the field role, but he is working hard with me in particular on the strategic areas of our game.”

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