All change for All Blacks as Foster cut for Razor

The All Blacks are at the end of an era with Ian Foster departing the side, along with several stars, after their World Cup final loss.

IAN FOSTER. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

As Australian rugby churns from crisis to crisis, New Zealanders are also confronting a new era for their beloved All Blacks.

The final whistle in the Rugby World Cup final - won by the Springboks by a single point - heralded the end of the road for many senior figures in the game.

Defeated coach Ian Foster is out, his challenging four-year reign already ended by New Zealand Rugby (NZR).

The governing body announced in March that Foster would be replaced by Scott "Razor" Robertson, regardless of their World Cup showing.

Foster was a critic of the succession plan, saying he didn't look for his next job while in the ABs role.

"My players last night and today are telling me, 'Well now you can tell me what you've got planned, Ian', and I said when I made that decision in March to speak out, I also made a decision to refuse to talk to anyone," he told journalists in Paris.

"Any time I got offered any opportunity to coach after the World Cup I said I wasn't interested until after the World Cup."

Foster was asked about a potential vacancy with the Wallabies but didn't engage with the question.

Robertson won't be able to call on Dane Coles, who is retiring, or superstars Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, and Sam Whitelock, who made France 2023 their All Blacks swansong.

Another group of senior players are unlikely to be seen again, at least in the short term, as they fall foul of eligibility rules.

Beauden Barrett (Toyota in Japan), Richie Mo'unga, Shannon Frizell (both Toshiba Brave Lupus in Japan), Leicester Fainga'anuku (Toulon in France) and Nepo Laulala (Toulouse in France) are moving abroad.

NZR maintains a strict decades-long policy of selecting All Black squads from players in the Super Rugby competition.

Speaking in April, Robertson said he was keen to review that strategy.

"You've got to be a step ahead. If you're a step behind and then changing rules, that's when you get caught," he said.

"They will definitely be getting my opinion and my thoughts."

Ardie Savea (Kobelco Kobe Steelers in Japan) will also head abroad in 2024, but has re-signed with NZR for 2025.

Captain Sam Cane became the first player sent off in a Rugby World Cup final for a first-half shoulder charge, and it's not yet clear how he will recover from that life-altering moment.

Foster backed him to continue.

"He's got a team that treasure him and so they've surrounded him," he said in Paris.

"He'll continue to lead that group ... but there's no short cuts to getting over that."

Cane and Jordie Barrett also hold sabbatical options, similar to Savea, in their NZR deals.

New Zealand's other winner at the World Rugby awards was 26-year-old winger Mark Tele'a, named as breakthrough player of the year, and a key part of Robertson's future.

Robertson will also be joined by a new-look coaching panel, with only forwards coach Jason Ryan retained from current All Blacks assistant coaches.

Leon McDonald and Jason Holland have been plucked from Super Rugby head coaching roles in Auckland and Wellington to manage the attack. Scott Hansen, Robertson's assistant at the Crusaders, will be in charge of defence.