All Blacks coach Ian Foster has pressure coming down on him after a run of poor test results.
Former All Blacks prop Carl Hayman believes there is “enormous pressure” on coach Ian Foster in South Africa though it feels replacing him with Scott Robertson is “delicate”.
The All Blacks faced the Springboks twice over the next two weekends off the back of a historic lost series to Ireland in New Zealand.
The decline of the All Blacks continues to garner headlines around the globe, especially in France who host next year’s World Cup and where Hayman remains such a respected figure after his glory days with Toulon.
“There is enormous pressure on Foster and the results put him in trouble,” Hayman, who played 45 tests for New Zealand told French newspaper Midi Olympique.
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”But I will give him time to finish this year, to defend his chances and his work during the Rugby Championship and then the autumn tour. At that point, it will be time to take stock and make the right decisions. And then, what are the other solutions?
“A lot of people are pushing for Scott Robertson. He has some pretty incredible results with the Crusaders and Robertson has already said that if he does not get the job at the head of the All Blacks, he will try an experience abroad.
“This makes this file particularly delicate to manage for the NZR. For 10 or 20 years, New Zealand has already seen many of its best coaches go abroad. In Europe, in particular.
“This is a real problem for our rugby. All these great coaches put their talents to the benefit of other nations. Robertson’s situation is therefore particularly scrutinized in the country,” he told Midi Olympique.
Hayman knows all about All Blacks teams operating under pressure. The 42-year-old featured at two World Cup failures – the 2003 semifinal exit to Australia and the shock 2007 quarter-final loss to France.
He felt the current All Blacks were in a rebuilding phase after a long period of success with Sir Graham Henry and Sir Steve Hansen.
”Many people are very critical of the All Blacks. It has been a very long time since we have experienced such periods of difficulty. There is frustration and the supporters are very vocal. I try to keep a little more perspective,” Hayman said.
“I believe that professional sport is made of cycles. New Zealand have often been dominant, it’s true, and they really experienced an exceptional period after the failure of 2007. This was the starting point of a fabulous era. But the heroes of the titles of 2011 and 2015 have now retired. We have to rebuild. This is our current cycle. That takes time.”
Hayman, one of more than 100 former rugby players taking legal action against World Rugby and the national governing bodies of England and Wales over what they say was a failure to protect them from permanent injury caused by repeated concussions during their careers, believes the All Blacks still have time to turn their fortunes around for next year’s World Cup.
He said that could even happen at the current tournament, it has been the case in previous World Cups.
“History shows us that a lot can happen in a year. The favorite of a World Cup has not always been the winner, far from it. The reverse is also true,” Hayman told Midi Olympique.
“In 2011, for example, France reached the final after a failed group stage and a defeat against Tonga. The final, the French should certainly have won it, if we are honest… This shows how quickly a dynamic can be reversed. It’s not too late for New Zealand.”