Foster appointed All Blacks coach to succeed Hansen


Wellington (AFP)

New Zealand Rugby named Ian Foster as the new All Blacks head coach Wednesday, promoting the 54-year-old to the role after eight years as an assistant under illustrious predecessor Steve Hansen.

Foster, Hansen's preferred candidate, was the favourite to take over and rebuild the All Blacks after a disappointing World Cup semi-final exit this year.

He beat main rival Scott Robinson to the job, despite the Crusaders mentor winning three straight Super Rugby titles, with New Zealand Rugby saying Foster offered "fresh energy".

"He brings world-class international experience to the role, an incredibly strong coaching team, and we think he'll do an outstanding job," chairman Brent Impey said in a statement.

Foster, who was given a two-year contract, said he was humbled to take over one of the most coveted roles in world rugby.

"I feel truly privileged and honoured to be given this opportunity and I can't wait to lead the team into the next chapter of what is a remarkable legacy," he said.

Despite working under Hansen during a period of outstanding All Blacks' success, including winning the 2015 World Cup, Foster will be a controversial choice for some Kiwi rugby fans.

Critics point to an uninspiring eight-year spell in charge of the Waikato Chiefs, when their best result was a losing appearance in the 2009 final.

However, NZR are gambling that he can maintain the success achieved under Hansen and repeat the smooth transition his predecessor made from assistant to head coach.