Former All Blacks head coach Ian Foster and his assistant Joe Schmidt have been linked to a role at French Top 14 side Montpellier, according to reports.

Montpellier coach Richard Cockerill was fired over the weekend following the team’s sixth straight defeat which sees them languishing at the bottom of the table. Disgraced former French rugby federation president Bernard Laporte, was handed a two-year suspended sentence for corruption last year, was named as the director of rugby and has brought in Brive coach Patrice Collazo as the head coach.

According to French newspapers L’Equipe and Midi Libre, both Foster and Schmidt were on the short-list for the head coaching role with Schmidt remaining the preferred option to replace Collazo.

Foster’s All Blacks side fell just short of claiming a fourth World Cup title after going down 12-11 to the Springboks in Paris. Scott Robertson now takes over as All Blacks coach.

Talking to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast earlier this month, Foster said he wants to continue coaching but said he hasn’t talked to anyone, including Rugby Australia after the departure of Eddie Jones.

“I’m not saying anything about my future at the moment, but all I’d say is I haven’t spoken to anyone about anything and I’ve done that deliberately.

“I had a couple of options before the World Cup that I basically said, if you want to talk to me, you have to wait till after the World Cup.

“Because I don’t want this team or in fact, this country, thinking that I was busy trying to sort myself out before the biggest event.

“And for me, I wanted my team to know that I was 100 per cent focused on the team. I’d like to think that everyone saw that and now I’ll take my time and figure out what’s next. The timing is not perfect because a lot of jobs have all gone, but that’s okay. I was willing to take that risk.”

Foster joined the All Blacks as an assistant coach in 2012 and was part of the coaching staff when the side won the World Cup title in 2015. He took the reins from Steve Hansen following the 2019 World Cup. Under Foster, the All Blacks won four Rugby Championship titles and retained both the Freedom Cup and Bledisloe Cup. He has the third most wins as an All Black coach (32 from 46 tests).

Foster was asked by Hosking whether he wanted to continue coaching at the highest level.

“Well, I think that’s one of the options. You consider two things. You got the club stuff in Europe. You’ve got Japan, and then there’s the international game.

“But it’s immensely difficult to talk about trying to coach another country when you’ve just had 12 years with the best team in the world and who’s so close to my heart and quite frankly I just need to breathe a little bit before I go down that path,” he revealed.

2023-11-20T22:50:36Z dg43tfdfdgfd