Foster steps up to All Blacks

2011-12-23 08:24
Ian Foster (File)

Wellington - Long-serving Super Rugby coach Ian Foster was on Friday named as All Blacks assistant coach to back newly-appointed head coach Steve Hansen in a re-organisation at the helm of the world champion side.

Former All Blacks flyhalf Grant Fox becomes an All Blacks selector and former provincial coach Brian "Aussie" McLean, Samoa's assistant coach at the recent Rugby World Cup, will be the All Blacks specialist backs mentor.

A specialist skills coach is still to be added to the team.

Foster coached the Chiefs in more than 100 Super Rugby matches from 2004 through to this year, taking them to the finals in 2009, and has also co-coached the Junior All Blacks.

"This is a great honour to work with the All Blacks. I’m thankful for the faith that Steve Hansen and the Board have shown in me," he said.

"I think the time I have had with the Chiefs and the Junior All Blacks has given me a taste of coaching at an international level, and this is a huge privilege for me as I look to fill Smithy’s (Wayne Smith) big shoes."

Hansen said he has called in Fox as a selector because he is "not only a legend of our game but also one of the most astute people".

"I wanted to find someone independent from the team who had the ability to break down a player’s game, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and bring a fresh viewpoint to the selection process, and he’s that man."

The revamp of the All Blacks coaching line up follows the decision of former head coach Graham Henry to step down after guiding the side to win the World Cup in October with a nail-biting 8-7 victory over France in the final.

Hansen was last week appointed as Henry's replacement after serving as one of two assistant coaches during an eight-year reign in which the All Blacks played 103 Tests with a remarkable 85.4 percent winning average.

Wayne Smith has also stepped away from the All Blacks and is taking up a coaching position with the Chiefs.


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