Foster vs 'Rasnaber' Final: A Golden Opportunity for Coaches to Shine
Foster vs 'Rasnaber' Final: ...
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Foster vs 'Rasnaber' Final: A Golden Opportunity for Coaches to Shine

28 October 2023
2 min.
Foster vs 'Rasnaber' Final: A Golden Opportunity for Coaches to Shine

Unheralded Leaders of Rugby

For casual rugby fans, the question of who coaches the Springboks and All Blacks might be perplexing. It used to be Rassie Erasmus for the Springboks, but things have changed. And as for the All Blacks, their coach may not be the household name you'd expect. Let's introduce you to Jacques Nienaber and Ian Foster, two unassuming figures who play pivotal roles in their teams' successes.

Jacques Nienaber - The Quiet Architect

Jacques Nienaber's journey into rugby coaching began as a physiotherapist, but it was his defensive expertise that caught Rassie Erasmus's attention during their time at the Free State Cheetahs. Their collaboration extended through various teams before Nienaber left an indelible mark on the Springboks, particularly in their renowned rush defense.

Ian Foster - The Steady Hand

In contrast, Ian Foster's journey to the top is more traditional. He enjoyed a 13-year career as a fly-half for the Waikato Chiefs before taking charge of the North Island club, achieving a 50% win ratio across eight seasons in Super Rugby. His appointment as Steve Hansen's assistant saw the All Blacks win 93 out of 108 Tests, including the 2015 World Cup final. However, Foster's tenure as head coach faced challenges with the changing rugby landscape. The All Blacks lost to Argentina for the first time in history and lost a home series to Ireland for the first time in over a century. Facing the axe, a historic win in Johannesburg in 2022 saved his career, and his ability to transform key players and build a solid coaching team cannot be overlooked.

Legacy and Recognition

As the World Cup final looms, we must ponder the legacies these coaches will leave. A World Cup win for Foster would place him in esteemed company, but debates about his impact will persist. On the other hand, Jacques Nienaber's reputation is solid among Springboks fans, credited with blending brutality with attacking flair. Both coaches are shortlisted for World Rugby's Coach of the Year, hinting at further accolades.


In the lead-up to the final, all eyes are on these unassuming coaches. While they may not seek the spotlight, Jacques Nienaber and Ian Foster play pivotal roles in shaping the world of rugby. Their influence may well turn casual fans into enthusiasts who remember their names for years to come.

Persons 4 in the news

New Zealand rugby union coach and former player
1 place
New Zealand professional rugby union coach
2 place
African rugby union coach
3 place
South African rugby union coach and former player
4 place
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