Claims that the All Blacks’ job was Ian Foster’s to lose and the application process was a charade have been denied by incoming New Zealand Rugby (NZR) CEO Mark Robinson.
Robinson maintained that the coaching panel “came with a very open mind”.
The incoming NZR CEO was on the panel alongside NZR chairman Brent Impey, NZR head of high performance Mike Anthony, former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry and former Silver Ferns coach and High Performance Sport New Zealand director Waimarama Taumaunu.
“I am aware of the counter views around that but that wasn’t the case, if you spoke to either candidate about how demanding it was, I think that would be supported as well,” Robinson said.
“We can’t do anything to change that [view], but we know that we asked all the possible questions and gathered all the information we needed to make the decision.”
Robinson also spoke about Crusaders coach and former teammate Scott Robertson, who missed out on the job, saying he was “sure he’ll come again”.
“Razor is a great guy, I’ve known him for 20-odd years. That conversation is never easy. We have a huge amount of regard for him in this country,” Robinson said.
“We’re sure he’ll come again. He’ll be a fixture in high-performance coaching in New Zealand for a long time.”
Robinson also maintained continuity was only a factor in Foster getting the nod over Robertson, not a major reason.
"It was factor but it wasn’t a huge sway," Robinson said.
“The strength of that coaching team, that combination of intimate knowledge but the appetite for freshness and newness that he knew had to be injected into this environment to sustain it and continue to grow it,” Robinson said were the reasons why Foster was appointed.