Rugby: Frustrated Ian Foster doubts he'll be All Blacks coach after World Cup

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has expressed his frustration over persistent discussions of his role and admits he's "highly unlikely" to have the job after the Rugby World Cup.

With his contract up at the end of the year, Foster has remained silent over his future, as speculation surrounding the position only grows.

Two weeks ago, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson added fuel to the fire by suggesting an announcement on the process would be made 'in the next few days', but NZ Rugby denied his comments.

Robertson and Japan coach Jamie Joseph are considered frontrunners for the job, but the lack of clarity and constant discussion has a frustrated Foster accepting his fate.

"I sat back the last few months, and listened to the conversation bouncing around in the public domain about this role and about the job, and when's the right time to do something," he told Newstalk ZB.

"There were a couple of things that did it for me. One was John Kirwan's article… where he sort of said, 'Ian should just get up and say this and this and this', and I actually agreed with him.

"So I spoke to him and just felt that the New Zealand rugby public deserved to know what I thought of it, and I also believe this is becoming more of a debate about who is going to apply, than what is the right thing for the team."

Foster says he will respect whatever decision is made over the appointment, but owes it to the team to voice his opinion in a World Cup year.

"I do speak on behalf of a management team of near-on 20 people that are working their butts off and trying to do whatever they can to earn the respect of this public, and go to France and win a World Cup, and that's our No.1 and only goal.

"I'm looking at the energy and debate that's gone on here and, to be me, it's becoming about individuals, it's becoming about what suits people regarding timing and quite frankly, I don't know if going early or late will suit me either way.

"I think it's pretty highly unlikely that I will be in this job next year, but you keep getting asked about it, if I'm going to apply and I kind of think that's not really the big question for me. The big question is what's the best for the All Blacks in 2023. 

"The team comes first, and I want to express this view."

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson. Photo credit: Getty Images

Foster also admits it's disappointing to hear from another coach that a decision had seemingly been made, with Robertson being tipped by most as the favourite, but he remains focused on the task at hand, as the All Blacks chase a recordbreaking fourth World Cup title in France.

"I'm pretty sure they've [NZ Rugby] got a pretty clear idea and that's up to them to voice that," Foster told Newstalk ZB.

"It does seem to be reasonably obvious. I thought there was an interview with a coach last week that made it look like there was already plans in place to go early.

"That was frustrating to hear that from another voice, and I want people to know that this is not a process that I am holding up because of my silence or I'm holding up because people don't know what I want to do.

"This is about what's right for the team and either way, it feels like there's a bit of mood for change. I get that, but it doesn't change the fact that this All Blacks team has a big prize to win at the end of the year.

"We know the expectations of our public, we know the pressure and we want everyone to get behind us. We want to unify this country behind a team in black, so I'd rather we talk about that in 2023."