Former All Blacks prop Carl Hayman has given his verdict on the Ian Foster situation as boss of New Zealand, who have flown to South Africa for a two-game series on the back of losing four of their last five matches. The run of results has heaped pressure on the All Blacks head coach and this was added to on Saturday by an interview from NZR CEO Mark Robinson, who failed to deliver a vote of confidence in the coach beyond the two upcoming away games.
The 42-year-old Hayman knows what it is like to be at the core of a much criticized All Blacks side as his 45-cap career featured the 2003 World Cup semi-final loss to Australia and ended in quarter-final defeat to France four years later.
It leaves him well-versed to give his thoughts on the current crisis that had enveloped the All Blacks and he shared his views in an interview with Midi Olympique, the French rugby newspaper.
“Many people are very critical of the All Blacks. It has been a very long time since we had experienced such periods of difficulty. There is frustration and the supporters are very vocal. I try to keep a little more perspective.
“I believe that professional sport is made of cycles. New Zealand have often been dominant, it’s true, and they really experienced an exceptional period after the failure of 2007. This was the starting point of a fabulous epic. But the heroes of the titles of 2011 and 2015 have now retired. We have to rebuild. This is our current cycle. That takes time.
“There is enormous pressure on Foster and the results put him in trouble, but I will give him time to finish this year, to defend his chances and his work during the Rugby Championship and then the autumn tour. At that point, it will be time to take stock and make the right decisions. And then, what are the other solutions?
“A lot of people are pushing for Scott Robertson. He has some pretty incredible results with the Crusaders and Robertson has already said that if he does not get the job at the head of the All Blacks, he will try an experience abroad.
“This makes this file particularly delicate to manage for the NZR. For ten or 20 years, New Zealand has already seen many of its best coaches go abroad. In Europe, in particular. This is a real problem for our rugby. All these great coaches put their talents to the benefit of other nations. Robertson’s situation is therefore particularly scrutinized in the country. “
Despite the current results, though, Hayman still talked up the chances of the All Blacks at next year’s World Cup in France. “History shows us that a lot can happen in a year. The favorite of a World Cup has not always been the winner, far from it. The reverse is also true.
“In 2011, for example, France reached the final after a failed group stage and a defeat against Tonga. The final, the French should certainly have won it, if we are honest… This shows how quickly a dynamic can be reversed. It’s not too late for New Zealand. “
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