New Zealand Rugby will decide on the next All Blacks head coach in the next “four to six weeks”, rejecting Ian Foster’s wishes that the process take place after this year’s World Cup in France.
NZR chairman Dame Patsy Reddy made the announcement on Wednesday morning, following weeks of ongoing discussions in the media and the recent revelation by Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson that a decision on a trial is imminent.
“Following extensive consultations and after careful consideration of all scenarios and key findings from 2019, New Zealand Rugby is now beginning the process of selecting an All Blacks head coach from 2024,” Reddy said in a statement.
“We recognize that these decisions are challenging as we try to strike a balance between public scrutiny and high performance expectations as part of the need to protect our responsibilities and ensure we prioritize internal conversations with our employees.
“To date, New Zealand Rugby has been reluctant to talk publicly about the All Blacks coaching appointment process in order to protect the integrity of the process and minimize scrutiny of those involved. However, recent developments require some clarity.
“Noting the diverging views on the best time for this process and that no time window is perfect, out of respect for those involved, New Zealand Rugby will not comment after today until a decision has been made. will be concluded in the next four to six weeks.”
Robertson and current Japan head coach Jamie Joseph are considered two front-line candidates for the role, with Foster recently saying he believes it is “highly unlikely” that he will be named All Blacks head coach next year.
Foster only got late relief last year to keep his job after the All Blacks lost a three-Test series to Ireland at home and then lost their first Rugby Championship game away to South Africa.
The current All Blacks coach has made it clear that he would like the NZR to hold off on a 2024 decision until the end of the All Blacks campaign in France.
Foster expressed concern that the debate over who should or would coach the All Blacks next year could distract his team later this year.
“Absolutely. I’m not trying to do anything overtly clever here, I’m just trying to express what the All Blacks coach thinks about what’s going on here at the moment,” Foster said. Platform last week.
“It’s about my team. One of the biggest rocks the values of the All Blacks call it what you want is that the team comes first and the decisions we make are about the team and me when I know things are going on something that affects my group my the role is to hold your head up and say what I think.
“I’ve been sitting quietly listening to this conversation and debate, and all my management is hearing is that other people are setting the timeline of what’s going on in this team.
“What I say may not change much, but I said what I thought and I think I will be judged for it.”
Robertson, who saw his Crusaders lose the first Super Rugby Pacific clash to the Chiefs last week, has made no secret of his desire to coach the All Blacks.
He also said he would have no problem coaching another Test country, but following recent changes at international level – Australia, England and Wales appointed new coaches in December or January – there are few vacancies around the world.
NZR had previously favored applicants with some overseas experience, which may be a boost for Joseph given his long tenure at Brave Blossoms.