Duncan Johnstone is senior sportswriter for Stuff

OPINION: Ian Foster’s recent logic has been about as convincing as his underperforming All Blacks.

Based on statements about his team, his opposition and the easing of rugby eligibility requirements, Foster has come up with theories with as many holes in his side’s defence.

Questions around Foster’s position are rising at an alarming rate as his unwanted records in the All Blacks history book rise at the same rate.

Foster shouldn’t be able to hide behind the “reconstruction” explanation he so regularly trots out.

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He has been in the All Blacks system since 2012, benefiting from the coaching continuity policy which has seen Steve Hansen replace Graham Henry and Foster take over the reins from Hansen.

Part of his job was surely to help oversee a selection policy that ensured similar continuity and depth in player resources.

Ian Foster's logic on a variety of rugby topics is difficult to follow, writes Duncan Johnstone.

Things

Ian Foster’s logic on a variety of rugby topics is difficult to follow, writes Duncan Johnstone.

Among the inevitable retirements, there was always a solid background on which Foster relied.

The backbone of the side survived, but the decline in performance since Foster took over has dropped alarmingly. Core players like Codie Taylor and Aaron Smith are a shadow of their former selves, and other aging stars are also under the microscope.

Then to hear Foster complaining about Argentina’s tactics during breakdowns was laughable.

The All Blacks have been masters of black magic in this department for years.

The top tier of test rugby is so tight and the rules so confusing and constraining that it’s often a question of who cheats best.

They now get some of their own medicine, and suddenly they don’t like it.

Codie Taylor's dip in form comes as pressure mounts on the All Blacks.

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Codie Taylor’s dip in form comes as pressure mounts on the All Blacks.

Argentina’s effort was not the first time this season that the All Blacks squad had been more muscular, and it won’t be the last. They allowed that frustration to affect other areas too, with the roster stifling the stretch in Christchurch being a prime example.

On the eve of the test against the Pumas, we heard Foster express his unease that former All Blacks half-back Tawera Kerr-Barlow is showing up for Australia under World Cup’s relaxed eligibility laws. Rugby.

It’s infuriating to hear that from a high-ranking New Zealand official given how the All Blacks have gleefully plundered talent from the Pacific over the years.

The Kiwis wrote the blueprint for cashing in on rival nations, a guide happily followed by countries like Australia, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland who all got into the trade import.

Going back to those All Blacks and their growing problems, it’s alarming to hear Foster admit that some of their problems, highlighted in that latest embarrassing loss to Argentina, ‘clearly aren’t that easy to fix’.

David Havili and Ian Foster took off in Christchurch following the All Blacks' fourth defeat in six Tests in 2022 and the third in a row in New Zealand.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

David Havili and Ian Foster took off in Christchurch following the All Blacks’ fourth defeat in six Tests in 2022 and the third in a row in New Zealand.

His job is to fix them, and there’s no shortage of help trying to do just that. He embarrassingly replaced assistant coaches and redefined others’ job descriptions in an effort to rectify a roller coaster ride that now has far more lows than highs.

It’s not nice to see a nice guy like Foster go through this, but scrutiny goes with his job, and it’s hard to escape the belief that he’s the architect of his own demise.

He looked very much like the battered man he was following this latest disaster and his skipper Sam Cane was also battered.

This is Captain Cane who has been substituted in the second half in four of this year’s six Tests, a stat that does little to spur public questioning of his place on the open flank or the need for leadership. in the last quarter when these All Blacks regularly found fault.

These are the kind of baffling issues that have New Zealand rugby’s confidence as low as the All Blacks’ world rankings – back to a historic worst of No 5 – and will only increase the pressure on Foster and those above. above him.

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