The Ian Foster Interview
Interviewer: Well Ian, your reaction to the defeat.
Foster: Firstly, thanks for the Big Bucket. The loss of Scott Barrett was a major blow to us as he was irreplaceable.
Interviewer: Has it been difficult to blend the SRA teams into the one team?
Foster: Well I took care of the Hurricanes at an early stage. I picked their second-best scrum half, a mediocre second-five and played their best 7 out of position. It was therefore easy to ignore them.
Interviewer: How were you able to overlook Akira Ioane?
Foster: He is everything I dislike in a player. He has physicality and is exciting and I cannot tolerate that in an All Black team.
Interviewer: There was criticism of the composition of the squad. Another Big Bucket?
Foster: Thanks. Yes, I understand that, but politically I could not have taken any more Chiefs players.
Interviewer: There has also been criticism of the inclusion of some of the players who had a very average SRA
Foster: Well in some cases it was a close call between the likes of Damian McKenzie & Brad Weber and more experienced Chiefs players, but I tried to balance any bias out by not selecting Anton Leinart-Brown in his best position.
Interviewer: Akira Ioane has made a great impact in SRA. Why was he not in the original team?
Foster: He has never played for the Chiefs. How could I have been expected to know whether he is any good?
Interviewer: Why do you keep playing Jordie Barratt at 14?
Foster: I feel that the familiarity, which the players built up in their best positions, breeds complacency. By the way, thanks for the extra fries.
Interviewer: You have been widely criticised for the team's display against Argentina. How do you react?
Foster: Listen, I am a world cup winner. I give interviews to Sky. I can inspire a team playing any sport you care to name. Do you think that I am put off by ill-informed criticism? And I coached the Chiefs.
Interviewer: You are accused of ignoring Crusaders players. How do you react?
Foster: The fact that they won the Super Rugby Aotearoa playing exciting rugby with a Plan B really counts for nothing. But do they know all the attack lines from the Chiefs playbook of two seasons ago? I know what it takes to win against second string sides. It is a war of attrition.
Interviewer: It seemed to some observers that the All Blacks lacked discipline and made mistakes under pressure while Argentina were disciplined and handled the pressure well.
Foster: Some clever dicks in the press and former players always want to comment on things they know nothing about. Any chance of some more fried chicken?
Interviewer: The line-out did not go well and the All Blacks lost a lot of their own throw-ins.
Foster: Well that is a good example of what I am up against. I wanted to play Tyler Ardron but IRB rules prevented me doing that. And John Plumtree insisted that at least one non-Chiefs player be selected to give the team balance. Scott McLeod, a Chiefs man, agreed.
Interviewer: Scott Barrett has a poor disciplinary record at critical times. How do you turn that around?
Foster: It is my philosophy to turn every set back to our advantage. It's clear that he needs a change of focus during games. I'm playing Scooter at 2/5 for the next test.
Interviewer: The handling of the rush defence by the AB's continues to be a worry.
Foster: This is because most of them are unfamiliar with Chiefs tactics. We really need to sort out our midfield. It's important we be proactive there, and I have been in contact with Charlie Ngatai.
Interviewer: What did you make of Sam Cane's comments on fans after the loss to Argentina?
Foster: Only a complete fool criticises his captain, but I think he's totally wrong on that - even if he is a Chiefs player. Sam needs to dial down the rhetoric and the passion. Personally, I go out of my way to chat to supporters when I pop into McDonalds for lunch. You can learn a lot over a second Big Mac.
Interviewer: You indicated that the first season with you in charge would be critical.
Foster: Look, I am doing my very best on a paltry budget of $20m. Do you know that we have fewer coaches / back-up staff than players? How can you expect me to demonstrate my management skills under these circumstances? Positivity is what it is all about and I cannot see how I can be expected to do my job if results on the pitch are constantly being thrown back at me. It is also unfair I get the blame if non-Chiefs players can't perform out of position?
Interviewer: Final question, Ian . Were you right to pick Ritchie Mo'unga at 10?
Foster: Perhaps not. I wanted to pick Aaron Cruden but Ritchie's been playing well for the Crusaders. I thought of Ritchie at half-back, but I needed to pick some players in their favoured positions.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time.
Foster: Don't mention it. It's always good to take a break from coaching. Pass me that second Big Sharing Bucket will you?