New Zealand Rugby has come in support of All Blacks head coach Ian Foster following the defeats to Ireland and Wales in the recently concluded tour.
Despite a relatively successful year where the All Blacks went on to win 12 out of 15 games, Foster's men could not finish their Northern tour on a high as they lost to Ireland for the second successive time at Aviva Stadium with a 29-20 margin that was followed by 40-25 defeat to France last weekend.
The defeat also brought to an end a 14-game winning streak that New Zealand had over Les Bleus sparking criticism on Foster, who took over the side from Steve Hansen following the 2019 World Cup in Japan during which he was also their assistant coach.
Despite the criticism from all corners, NZR’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum has backed Foster and the other backroom staff and said they will be focussing on the areas that needs improvement with the World Cup scheduled in 2023 in France.
“We’re incredibly appreciative of the efforts that our team has gone to,” Lendrum told RNZ.
“It’s a tour like no other … long and arduous and there are learnings to be taken out of those weeks. But we support Foz (Foster) and the team and we are just looking forward to getting them home and getting into the work that we need to do so we can improve next year.”
Lendrum also said two reviews - one by the team management and the other by the board - will be conducted over the side's performances in 2021 which will be completed prior to the inaugural edition of the Super Rugby Pacific competition.
“We look to match those two (reviews) together. We focus on environment, performance and people and work through a review process where we essentially get a 360 degree review and 360 degree feedback on our key people,” he added.
“When you look at the overall year and you look at what we have achieved I think, when you look at the context, that there has been quite a significant growth from last year.
“I think if you look at this year, it is a year that some teams haven’t played many Test matches and the southern hemisphere teams have played a lot of Test matches.
“We’ve played more than we’ve ever played. We’ve won 12 out of 15 – South Africa lost five Tests, Australia lost about seven Tests.