WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Jul 6 – New Zealand’s top rugby players are not happy with the new All Blacks coaching set-up, according to a surprise poll released Monday.
Of the more than 100 players who responded to a radio station survey, 72 percent had some problem with the Ian Foster-led set up.
While Foster himself had support, almost half the top-flight players, 46 percent, believed New Zealand Rugby got the entire panel wrong while another 26 per cent were happy with Foster but not his assistants.
New Zealand Rugby opted for former All Blacks assistant Foster when Steve Hansen stepped down after last year’s World Cup, instead of successful Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.
Of the coaching panel that oversaw the All Blacks 2019 World Cup campaign, where they were knocked out in the semi-finals by England, Foster retained Scott McLeod and brought in John Plumtree, Greg Feek and Brad Mooar.
Country Radio producer Sam Casey, who conducted the poll, said he asked more than 100 players, including at least 15 from each of New Zealand’s five Super Rugby clubs, to reply anonymously to a raft of questions.
To the question of who is the best professional coach you have had, Japan and Otago Highlanders assistant Tony Brown pipped Robertson with 17 percent support while former Hurricanes and now Wallabies coach Dave Rennie tied with Warren Gatland for third on nine percent.
Beauden Barrett was viewed by his peers as the best player in New Zealand, although favoured as a fly-half and not fullback.