Foster's family threatened in Paris

Ian Foster after the final whistle at the Rugby World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Ian Foster after the final whistle at the Rugby World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Days before the All Blacks’ first game at the Rugby World Cup, former head coach Ian Foster’s wife, Leigh, and daughter, Michaela, faced a menacing situation when they were accosted by a man armed with a knife in Paris.

The unsettling encounter happened near the All Blacks’ hotel, situated on the outskirts of the city, an area known for its less-than-savoury reputation.

Fortunately, the pair escaped the attempted mugging unscathed, though the ordeal left them deeply shaken, as reported by 1News today.

While it remains unclear whether an official complaint was filed with the authorities, security concerns loomed large at the World Cup, and the All Blacks, like all 20 participating teams, were provided with substantial police protection throughout the tournament.

In response to the incident, All Blacks management issued a general warning to players and accompanying personnel, advising against venturing out alone after nightfall.

Despite the off-field issues, Foster, who has now been succeeded by Scott Robertson as head coach, maintained a composed and consistent demeanour in front of the media during the tournament.

Ian Foster with Michaela and Leigh. Photo: Getty Images
Ian Foster with Michaela and Leigh. Photo: Getty Images

The All Blacks’ journey to the final included a remarkable 28-24 quarter-final victory over Ireland. After a comprehensive 44-6 semifinal win against Argentina, they eventually fell at the final hurdle, losing to South Africa 12-11 two weeks ago.

Despite the disappointments faced in his tenure, Foster, who was shortlisted for World Rugby’s coach of the year, maintained a dignified and measured approach. In the aftermath of a gut-wrenching final defeat, he expressed what he would miss most about his role, emphasising his love for watching the All Blacks play and the people he worked with.

Now officially unemployed, the offers for coaching positions are flowing in for Foster, who remains discreet and loyal, a testament to his appeal as a coach.

When discussing his plans, Foster said: “There are no secret plans. It may be my stubborn pride but I ... didn’t want them [players] reading that I was talking to someone else... because I don’t think that’s conducive to a team environment. Technically I’ll get home and on the 1st of November be unemployed.”

Foster humorously added that his first priority upon returning home would be to mow his lawns, signifying a fresh start for the seasoned coach.

Turbulent time

Foster had overseen a turbulent four years since taking over as coach from Sir Steve Hansen after a semifinal exit at the last World Cup, almost losing his job last year after a home series loss to Ireland.

Although still capable of playing breath-taking rugby, it is probably fair to say that the once daunting aura of the All Blacks has diminished during the Foster era.

The 58-year-old said several times during the tournament that ultimately World Rugby would have to decide whether they wanted the power game epitomised by the Springboks to prevail at the expense of the more running rugby of the All Blacks.

Overall, though, Foster was simply proud of the team he had built in his four years in charge and the courage and tenacity they showed to take a great South Africa team so close in the final.

"I would say there were a lot more ups than downs," Foster said of his time in charge.

"I've been privileged to be with a special group of people. We lost but as a coach you want your team on the big stage and to put their best foot forward, which they did. I couldn't be more proud."

- Additional reporting by Reuters