All Blacks v South Africa: Ian Foster's future in the spotlight in high-pressure clash against Springboks

  • 06/08/2022

The All Blacks are in South Africa, and on Sunday return to the field for the first time since last month's series loss to Ireland when they face the Springboks at Mbombela.

For coach Ian Foster, Sunday could be the last chance to show he's the right man for the job.

The two tests in South Africa have arguably the biggest stakes on the line outside of a Rugby World Cup for the All Blacks, with Foster's future as coach firmly on the line.

Ian Foster and Beauden Barrett.
Ian Foster and Beauden Barrett. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

With four defeats in their last five tests, any further losses without sign of improvement would see Foster on the outer with New Zealand Rugby.

Foster has spoken at length over the past few games that he feels the All Blacks are moving in the right direction.

But moving in the right direction might not be enough for the embattled coach. The only currency that will matter in the coming weeks is wins.

Foster will be aided by the arrival of forwards coach Jason Ryan from the Crusaders, tasked with restoring the All Blacks' physicality against a Springboks side built on dominance up front.

Former assistants John Plumtree and Brad Mooar were the All Blacks' two casualties after the series loss for Ireland, with Ryan hoped to be the man to transform the forwards' fortunes.

But regardless, Sunday's result and next week's second encounter in Johannesburg will have the determining say as to Ian Foster's future as All Blacks coach.