All Blacks coach Ian Foster admitted Wednesday it was “highly unlikely” that he would be in charge next year, as speculation grows in New Zealand about his future.
Foster’s contract expires following this year’s Rugby World Cup in France and he doesn’t expect it to be extended.
“I think it’s pretty highly unlikely that I will be in this job next year,” Foster told Newstalk ZB radio.
“I keep getting asked about it, if I am going to apply, but the question (for me) is what is best for the All Blacks in 2023.”
New Zealand Rugby reportedly want to have the All Blacks coaching staff for 2024 finalised by April.
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Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and Japan boss Jamie Joseph have been tipped as possible replacements.
Foster is concerned that debate about his future could overshadow World Cup preparations and wants any announcement about the 2024 All Blacks coach made only after the tournament.
“This is more of a debate about who is going to apply rather than what is the right thing for the team,” Foster added.
“I’m reading the tea leaves and I think it looks like there’s a mood for a change.
“And, so for me, I’d like to put energy into that at the end of the year. Not now.
“My sole focus is on the World Cup. We have a big prize to win. I’d rather be talking about that in 2023.”
Foster replaced Steve Hansen following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
He came under pressure as the All Blacks posted erratic results last year and lost at home to both Ireland and Argentina for the first time.
But they did beat world champions South Africa on their way to winning the Rugby Championship and then went undefeated on their four-match northern hemisphere tour.
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Foster said he has not spoken to the All Blacks players about his future.
“I haven’t tried to engage any players, they have enough pressure on them in their own areas,” he added.
“I speak on behalf of a management team of 20 people who are working their butt off to go to France and win the Rugby World Cup. That is our only goal.”