VIDEO: All Blacks' big 'secret' is out
NEWS: Newly appointed New Zealand head coach Ian Foster unveiled the bulk of his coaching team, revealing what must be the worst kept secret in the whole process.
Foster is looking to rebuild the three-time world champions after a disappointing World Cup.
Foster, a former All Black assistant coach who took over the top job from Steve Hansen earlier this month, named John Plumtree as forwards coach, Greg Feek as scrum coach and Scott McLeod as defence coach.
A backs coach is yet to be named, with reports in New Zealand linking Scarlets coach Brad Mooar to the role – but the Welsh region want generous compensation if the Kiwi is to return home.
Like Foster, all of the assistants are on two-year contracts, which stop short of the 2023 World Cup in France.
“They’re all outstanding coaches in their own right,” Foster said.
“We’ll have new voices and fresh ideas in the All Blacks, which will be really stimulating for everyone, and help us grow as we enter a new era.”
Plumtree, 54, joins after guiding the Hurricanes to fourth place in the Super Rugby competition in his first season in charge.
His previous international experience consists of working as forwards coach with Ireland in 2013 and 2014, as well as a stint as Japan’s defence coach in 2017.
The franchise announced Plumtree’s assistant Jason Holland had been promoted to replace him at the Wellington-based franchise.
Former All Blacks prop Feek, 44, was Ireland’s scrum coach from 2011 until this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, working with the team for 100 Tests during one of their most successful spells.
Former All Blacks centre McLeod, 46, was already part of the New Zealand set up under Hansen and retains his role as defence coach with Foster.
When he took the reins, Foster vowed to restore the All Blacks’ aura of invincibility, which was tarnished in a 19-7 semi-final loss to England at the World Cup.
Incoming New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson added: “When Ian was appointed to the Head Coach job, we were all impressed by the collective strength of the team that he’d assembled.
“It’s a combination of youth and experience, with both international and New Zealand experience, and they’ll bring new ideas to the playing group, which is exciting for the future.”
Foster said the new coaches all had complementary skillsets.
“John is an experienced Head Coach with an extensive coaching background. He’s got a clear vision for our forwards and I believe he will quickly add value in the All Blacks environment.”
Foster on Feek: “Greg has been involved in more than 100 Tests with Ireland and helped coach a successful Irish pack. For a young coach, he brings vast international experience. He’s got a great ‘tactical-technical’ sense and also a great way of communicating at the right level.”
On Scott McLeod, Foster said: “Scott has already had almost two years in the All Blacks and has overseen a period of change in our defence structure and we’re getting better and better, so it’s a great opportunity for him to continue that and I’m expecting a big contribution from him.”
Plumtree said he was thrilled at the opportunity to be involved with the All Blacks.
“When you start out as a young coach, you dream that one day you’ll be helping coach the All Blacks, and to now have that dream realised is incredible. I’ve done a fair bit of coaching in different parts of the world over the last 20 years and to now be part of the All Blacks is fantastic,” he said.
Greg Feek returned to New Zealand this week after nine years overseas and was a key figure in the Irish team which won the Six Nations in 2014, 2015 and 2018.
“It’s a real privilege and honour to be named as part of the All Blacks coaching team. It’s unbelievable really. I’ve learnt so much during my time overseas and I’m really pumped and energised to bring my overseas experience into the All Blacks set-up and help the team as we move into a new chapter,” Feek said.
Scott McLeod said: “I’ve loved every minute of my time so far with the All Blacks and working with the new coaching team and players as we enter a new era is going to be awesome. There are different challenges every day and every week at Test level and I’m looking forward to continue playing my part.”