More riding on New Zealand’s clash with Ireland than just a semi-final place

first_imgShare on LinkedIn Rugby World Cup Read more Japan’s tournament charge has lent considerable momentum to a Jamie Joseph candidacy. Although being courted by Japanese Rugby for another term, the former Highlanders coachs stocks continue to rise at home, and the fact that he is being partnered by Tony Brown, whom both Foster and Robertson are also seeking as an assistant, adds to the attraction. If the All Blacks lose, and Japan win this weekend, Joseph could jump to the front of the queue.Which all means that the quarter-finals have more riding on them, as far as the future goes, than just the All Blacks’ progress in Japan.The personal stakes are incredibly high for Foster, but the quarter-final could still hold much for Schmidt’s career advancement. An Irish win would see Schmidt join the former Wallaby boss Deans with three wins against the All Blacks, the most by any expat Kiwi coach. It would also ensure his name remained in the conversation for the vacancy in the future if he decided to make himself available.At that point, Schmidt could have, among rival contenders, someone he has already coached against on numerous occasions, and may yet oppose again at the World Cup – a certain Warren Gatland. Topics Read more So even though Schmidt has ruled himself out of contention due to family priorities, a victory by his Ireland side over the All Blacks in the quarter-final at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium would be bad news for Hansen’s trusted lieutenant, Ian Foster.Foster has stuck it out for eight years at Hansen’s side, working alongside forwards coach Mike Cron, Wayne Smith, who left after the Rugby Championship two years ago, and his replacement, Scott McLeod.The All Blacks were already World Cup winners when Foster arrived, but they have since retained the trophy, while also staying at the top of the rankings for all but a few weeks of his tenure. It is not an unreasonable expectation that the former Chiefs coach would be the next cab off the rank.Few, if any, coaching jobs are more coveted than heading the All Blacks though, and the number of heavyweight contenders is almost unrivalled, even if New Zealand remains, alongside France, the only major nation still insisting on a locals-only approach to its head coaching position.Foster is respected by the players for his strategies, has always been approachable and good humoured in public, and steadfastly loyal to both his colleagues and the playing group throughout his time in international rugby.Yet he has had the misfortune to never quite win over the majority of the public, in no small part due to his inability to win a Super Rugby trophy despite eight years at the helm of the Chiefs, after a previously title-less run as coach of Waikato in the national provincial championship.It didn’t help perceptions that the Chiefs won the title twice under his successor, Dave Rennie, who admittedly did have serial winner Wayne Smith at his side and could not win it again with largely the same team once Smith stood down. The fact that, deliberately or not, Hansen has largely scooped up the credit for the All Blacks’ on-going success has not helped, as it has meant that Foster’s contribution has been undervalued by the public.But perhaps the biggest single factor that makes a quarter-final win so critical for Foster’s application is the upcoming change at New Zealand Rugby HQ, where former All Black Mark Robinson is moving from a place on the board into the chief executive’s office.As a board member, Robinson has been supportive of the current regime, and will understand Foster’s role within it, but he is nowhere near as close to Foster as his predecessor, Steve Tew, has been with Hansen. It would not be exaggerating to suggest that Tew and Hansen, who grew close during their time with Canterbury and the Crusaders, were almost a package deal, as evidenced by their simultaneous departures.Foster cannot expect the same level of backing from Robinson or the New Zealand Rugby board, so he will have to take his chances and be judged on results. If the All Blacks don’t make the final, his ascension is far from assured. A quarter-final exit didn’t finish off Graham Henry 12 years ago, but it would probably be terminal this time.A loss to Ireland, who fielded 16 of the players who beat New Zealand in Dublin last year during the pool-ending win over Samoa last Saturday, would bring the three-time Super Rugby-winner Scott Robertson into the frame. This move might have been a no brainer 20 years ago, before the rules seemingly changed after the five-time Super Rugby-winning Robbie Deans was passed over for Henry’s reappointment following the 2007 World Cup failure.Rennie, now in Scotland but favourite for the Wallabies job next year, also found that multiple titles in Super Rugby could not prize open the door but, with the departing Tew unlikely to wield a major influence on the decision, the current Crusaders coach is well and truly in the game.A former team-mate of Robertson’s in the unbeaten Crusaders side of 2002, Robinson knows the significance of the achievement in winning three straight titles better than most, and would be a powerful advocate on his behalf. The incoming chief executive will also be aware of how close, and respected, Robertson is by the large number of Crusaders senior players who have formed the core of the successful Super Rugby and All Black sides of recent vintage. features … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. 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Share on Facebook Share via Email Support The Guardian Rugby World Cup 2019 Share on Twitter Joe Schmidt will not be the next All Blacks coach, but the Ireland mentor could have a significant say on Saturday as to who winds up succeeding Steve Hansen in the New Zealand job.While it might seem premature to be discussing succession plans three weeks out from the end of the Rugby World Cup, it looks highly likely that New Zealand’s finishing position will be a big factor in determining who is installed at the conclusion of Hansen’s eight-year tenure. The making of Richie Mo’unga: the All Black good enough to learn from adversity Rugby union Ireland have new plans for All Blacks in quarter-final, says Cian Healey Australia sport Reuse this content Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger New Zealand rugby union teamlast_img

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