Former All Blacks coach Foster makes Japan move

Former All Blacks coach Foster makes Japan move

Former All Blacks head coach Ian Foster will join Japan's Toyota Verblitz next season, the club said Tuesday, reuniting him with Steve Hansen and joined by Rugby League star Joseph Manu.

Foster has not coached since leading the All Blacks to last year's World Cup final, where they lost 12-11 to South Africa.

Toyota's director of rugby is former All Blacks head coach Hansen, whom Foster worked under as an assistant from 2011 to 2019.

Foster said he was "determined to make a difference" at Toyota, who are sixth in the 12-team Japan Rugby League One table after 13 games this season.

The club declined to say exactly what coaching role he would take on.

"I have been very impressed with their ambition and am confident we can work together to achieve the goal of winning titles," Foster said in a statement released by the club.

"And of course I am looking forward to linking back up with Steve and working with him again."

The 58-year-old Foster was All Blacks head coach for four years, taking over from Hansen after the 2019 World Cup.

He will have a major weapon to work with as the club also confirmed the signing of Sydney Roosters star Joseph Manu.

Manu has won two NRL premierships with the club whilst representing New Zealand on 19 occasions.

The 2021 Golden Boot winner for best international player in the world was excited to make the transition and test himself.

"I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the Toyota Verblitz Rugby Team," he added.

"I know that the club has a proud history, and I am eager to become a part of such an exciting organization. I also eagerly anticipate playing alongside all the talented players at the club and working with the staff. I can’t wait to play in front of the team’s passionate supporters.

"I look forward to returning to rugby union and competing in the prestigious Japan Rugby League One competition. While I know the transition won’t be easy, I will embrace the challenge."

Fly-half Beauden Barrett and scrum-half Aaron Smith, who both played in last year's World Cup final, are both currently at Toyota.

Barrett will return to New Zealand at the end of the season.

Latest News