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David Moffett believes Scott Robertson and Leon MacDonald should lead a new All Blacks coaching regime, and he does not think Joe Schmidt is the right man to take the team and game forward.
But he told Gold Sport radio host Brian Kelly that if Foster is retained, potential new assistants like Robertson and MacDonald might baulk at accepting a poisoned chalice, preferring to wait for more favourable timing.
Moffett called on the All Blacks to revise their planning, treating the next tournament as something of a stepping stone towards the 2027 World Cup in Australia.
The former CEO, who led Welsh rugby and Australian league, has also called on the NZR to have a director of rugby, with Wayne Smith the initial appointment.
"I've felt for some time we won't be in a strong position to win next year's World Cup," said Moffett, who lives in rural Canterbury.
"In the last two years under Steve Hansen they didn't know what their best team was and played like that at the 2019 World Cup, getting thumped by England.
"Since then it has gone downhill and there needs to be some big changes and new thinking by NZR. Everybody has to be accountable, from the board to the players.
"I'd bring in Razor (Robertson) and Leon MacDonald if they can work together, along with whatever coaches they require to try and win in France. But they should be looking far ahead (2027) rather than go for quick fixes."
Moffett predicted the NZR would take the "soft option" and retain Foster.
"They will stick with Foster and throw some other coaches under the bus," he said.
"[But] this is professional rugby and should be no place for sentiment - it's about winning, especially with the All Blacks.
"Game by game we are having the mana of the All Blacks disassembled. We are no longer feared by the top nations around the world."
New All Black selector Schmidt will travel to South Africa and he appears to have the inside running if Foster is axed.
But Moffett warned it would be the wrong move.
"I'm not sure Joe Schmidt is the right guy for where they need to get to," he said.
"He did reasonably well with Ireland obviously but they fell over at the last World Cup quite badly.
"I think there is a disconnect between New Zealand rugby and the fans, and it's about time they thought about getting all these young people to embrace the game, as we see at the Crusaders, how they love Scott Robertson.
"A whole generation of kids might not care as much about the All Blacks. Basketball is now the biggest participation sport. There has to be a huge reset throughout New Zealand rugby."