Durban - It appears increasingly likely that All Blacks coach Ian Foster will be sacked if his team does not beat the Springboks in their two-match expedition to South Africa.
This was the subtext when New Zealand Rugby chief Mark Robinson at last broke his silence after the defeats to Ireland and told the media that the team’s performances would be under the microscope.
Robinson had been missing in action in terms of media comment for a fortnight after Ireland famously beat New Zealand 2-1 earlier this month, the home country’s first home series defeat since 1994.
Robinson stopped short, though, of confirming that Foster will definitely be fired if his team fails against the Boks in the two Rugby Championship matches —in Nelspruit on August 6 and in Johannesburg a week later.
“I’m not going to get into speculating on things like that,” he told radio station Newstalk ZB.
“As we’ve signalled, he’s certainly the person to lead the team to South Africa and we’re making sure that we’ve got everything possible in the way of resourcing and support to make sure that’s successful,” said Robinson.
“But we certainly understand the sentiment of our fans that’s been coming through loud and clear,” he said.
The major measures taken were the sacking of assistant coaches John Plumtree and Brad Mooar and the appointment of former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt as a selector and coaching sounding board for Foster, while Crusaders forwards coach Jason Ryan has been pulled in.
And amid all the near hysteria in New Zealand after the defeats, the man most of New Zealand wishes was in charge of the All Blacks, Scott “Razor” Robinson, piped up that he has a strong desire to coach at a World Cup, and that if New Zealand doesn’t want him, he is happy to coach elsewhere.
Robertson said: “I want to win the World Cup, but I want to win it with two different countries. First and foremost I would like to win it with my own country, but I would also like to do it with another country... to have a different expectation and different culture.
“But when someone doesn’t give it to you, you have to think differently about what opportunities are out there,” the highly successful Crusaders coach warned New Zealanders.
And in response to the clamour for Roberson to step in and sort out the All Blacks a year from the World Cup, Robinson said: “We know Razor has a huge amount to offer the game in New Zealand in the future and we’ve obviously got a domestic contract with him around that. Commenting any further on that wouldn’t be appropriate.”