Rugby: Richie McCaw urges All Blacks to ignore Ian Foster coaching drama as World Cup approaches

All Blacks legend Richie McCaw is urging the current side to put any distractions over the future of coach Ian Foster to one side, and concentrate solely on this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

With no answers to speculation over the future of the All Blacks' head coaching position from 2024 onwards, incumbent Foster broke ranke earlier this week to say he didn't think he would be in the role come next year.

The admission was a huge concession from Foster, who avoided the axe last year after the All Blacks slumped to a poor start to the season. 

For McCaw, who won the World Cup twice as a captain and player, any outside noise involving the team should stay exactly that, urging the current All Blacks to ignore any distractions in such an important year.

Richie McCaw lifts the Rugby World Cup (2015).
Richie McCaw lifts the Rugby World Cup (2015). Photo credit: Photosport

As part of his 148-test career, McCaw played under Foster, as an assistant to Sir Steve Hansen, from 2012 to 2015.

But while McCaw concedes "results count a lot" towards the job security of the All Blacks' coach, players can't hide from their own responsibility on-field. 

"You get distractions from all parts, you've just got to get on with it," McCaw told Newshub.

"When you're in a team as a player, you've got to put all of that to the side and make the All Blacks. Once you're there, you do what you can.

"If you think about when we played here in 2011, the distractions - good distractions - friends and family around, you have to put that to the side if you're going to be successful.

"These challenges you're talking about at the moment, you've got to put that to the side so you can go and perform."

As for the World Cup itself, McCaw says the All Blacks have the talent to win the Webb Ellis Cup for what would be an unprecedented fourth time.

But the World Cup in and of itself is far from straightforward for Foster's side, who face a gruelling task to even reach the semi-finals.

Because of the seedings at the time the World Cup pools were drawn, the All Blacks are on the same side of the tournament as hosts France, world No.1 Ireland, and reigning champions South Africa.

The All Blacks will face France in the pool stage, before a potential quarter-final against either Ireland or the Springboks. 

But despite negative sentiment towards the All Blacks' chances, both at home and abroad, McCaw insists the ability is there. 

"It's going to be interesting," he said. "That's what's great about sport, you don't know the answers, you don't know the outcomes. That's why we're all interested.

"We've got a bunch of teams that are all capable, which is awesome to watch.

"I think we've got a team that's talented enough. We've got to get a few things right. 

"If we do that, we're in with a good shot."