All Blacks Assistant Coach Ian Foster has extended his contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) through to 2017, NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew announced today.
Foster has been Assistant Coach alongside All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen since 2012.
“It’s been an honour and a privilege to have worked for the All Blacks over the last few years and to help the team achieve its goals, including winning the Rugby World Cup, and I look forward to getting stuck into next season after the summer break,” Foster said.
Steve Tew paid tribute to Foster’s work with the national team, which has fashioned a stunning record of 49 wins, two draws and just three losses, in their 54 Tests since 2012.
“Ian has provided outstanding coaching of the All Blacks over the last four years. He has a calm yet forthright style which works well in the team and his strategic thinking and development of the All Blacks’ back play, which is his specialist area, has been exceptional. We look forward to his ongoing contribution over the next two years.”
Tew confirmed that All Blacks Forwards Coach Mike Cron had also re-signed with NZR through until 2017.
“Cronno has coached not only the All Blacks forwards, but many young forwards with distinction for many years now and he is widely recognised as one of the world’s best coaches. We are incredibly fortunate to have him continue with the All Blacks.”
Mike Cron said: “I’m really enjoying the environment and the next couple of years will be an exciting challenge for the coaching team as we look to identify talent and help develop them into world-class rugby players.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen added: “It’s great news for New Zealand Rugby and myself to have these two world-leading coaches sign back on with the All Blacks. They have both played a major part in making this team what it is. They understand the culture and what’s required in the Test arena to make a team successful, and will be vital in making sure that we continue to grow our game in the years ahead.”
Steve Tew said the bulk of the All Blacks management team had also recommitted to the national side. Meanwhile, Defence Coach Wayne Smith has indicated he will take a year off from fulltime rugby coaching, while All Blacks Performance Analyst Alistair Rogers is taking up an assistant coaching role with the Blues.
Tew added that with a number of senior players leaving the All Blacks following the successful 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign, the All Blacks management would provide crucial guidance, with a number of new players expected in the All Blacks next year.
The All Blacks have a busy Test schedule in 2016, with Wales coming to New Zealand in June for the three-Test Steinlager Series followed by the annual Investec Rugby Championship and the end of year Tour to Europe. Then in 2017 the highlight will be the tour by the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand, which will include three Tests against the All Blacks.