Rugby: Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan's sympathy for Ian Foster over ongoing All Blacks speculation

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has the sympathy of Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan, as the saga over his future with the national team shows no signs of resolution any time soon.

After NZ Rugby confirmed it would appoint the next All Blacks coach before this year's World Cup, speculation is mounting over Foster's future in the role.

His tenure in charge has brought underwhelming wins and historic defeats, fuelling speculation that Foster may become the first New Zealand coach in the professional era to be sacked.

Clayton McMillan.
Clayton McMillan. Photo credit: Photosport

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and Japan coach Jamie Joseph have been touted as candidates to succeed Foster, while NZ Rugby has drawn a line through former Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.

While Foster, 57, has never clarified his coaching intentions beyond 2023, he has told NZME he is "highly unlikely" to remain in the job after the World Cup.

McMillan has misgivings over how Foster's fate continues to play out in the public eye.

"I can fully understand where his frustration comes from," said McMillan. "He wants to put a team together to prepare for the Rugby World Cup.

"In his eyes, everything that's going on is a distraction. I can also understand that people sitting on the sidelines might want some decisions.

"There's people that are well above me that are going to make those decisions.

"We're in the high performance game, but we're also in the people game. As long as people are treated well, that's what we should be putting our focus towards."

McMillan's focus lies with the Chiefs, who face a daunting ask to begin Super Rugby Pacifc, when they travel to face the Crusaders away from home.

But with 10 All Blacks in the starting XV, they boast one of the most exciting line-ups in the competition.

"As far as I'm concerned, my job is to get as many people out here onto that plane [to the World Cup]," he added.

"The only way we're going to do that is by focusing on the Chiefs, and getting good performances.

"The rest will take care of itself."

Join Newshub at 7:05pm Friday for live updates of the Chiefs v Crusaders Super Rugby Pacific clash