Rugby: All Blacks coach Ian Foster focused on future, rather than disappointing World Cup campaign

New coach Ian Foster wants the All Blacks to stop dwelling on last year's disappointing Rugby World Cup result and start focusing on the future ahead. 

In December, Foster was promoted from assistant to head coach, replacing Steve Hansen, who was at the helm for eight years. 

Hansen's reign as coach ended with a third-placing at the World Cup in Japan, after the All Blacks were eliminated by England in the semi-finals. 

Foster admits the pain of that defeat to England certainly lingered - but no more.

"At the end of the day, we were a group where there wasn't a single player in our 31-man squad who had lost a game at a Rugby World Cup, so Tokyo hurt," Foster told the UK Telegraph. 

"It does not matter how well you prepare, it is what it is.

"You get reminded of it and you have two choices - either sit back and think 'woe is us', or accept that’s sport.

"We were beaten on the day and we have to be better. To be fair, we are just starting to get excited about a new challenge, so there is no point mulling too much over the past."

Foster has assembled a new coaching group that includes John Plumtree (forwards), Brad Moaar (attack), Scott McLeod (defence) and Greg Feek (scrum). 

Foster admits he never set out to become All Blacks coach, but he's delighted with how the pieces have aligned. 

"I never had it written down on a bit of paper that I wanted to coach the All Blacks," he says.

"But I think once I was fortunate enough to get the [assistant] job eight years ago, afterwards I felt I was almost accountable to the group to stand, on the basis that, if we really believed in what we had done over the last eight years and we felt there was some good stuff in there, then it was clear that I was the one to put my hand up and go forward with that. 

Ian Foster and his All Blacks' coaching staff.
Ian Foster and his All Blacks' coaching staff. Photo credit: Photosport

"I felt a degree of responsibility, but also it is a massive privilege to do the job... let's just go and have some fun with it."

Foster signed a two-year deal with NZ Rugby, beating current Crusaders coach Scott Robertson to the role.

He knows he has to make a statement early in his post, with the likes of Roberston, Chiefs coach Warren Gatland and unassigned former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt lurking in the background. 

As it stands, Foster's first assignment as coach is against Wales in July, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, those two home tests and one against Scotland seem unlikely to go ahead. 

Foster believes the pressure to deliver immediately is something to embrace, rather than fear.

"A two-year deal was on the cards for whoever got the job. Personally, I would not have it any other way.

"We're coaching the All Blacks - we have to go well and if we don't go well, it doesn't matter how long your contract is, you still have to be the right person in that seat on the bus.

"That's my job - to make sure that I am the right person."