Foster joined Sky Sport’s Breakdown team, where he told Jeff Wilson and Sir John Kirwan that he’s had a gut feeling about Cane being captain for a while.
“We have some great leaders in our team and guys like Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock would be great captains, but it was about which person suited it. Sam’s got the respect of the training shed. He works hard, he walks the talk, he’s a straight shooter and he likes to think a lot about the game. He can annoy you at times, he comes and asks a lot of questions, but he challenges us, and I think that’s exactly what we want out of an All Blacks captain.”
The reason for the timing of last night’s (NZT) announcement, is to give Cane the chance to influence and build relationships behind the scenes ahead of any All Blacks matches that may be played this year.
Foster said Cane will have a strong leadership group around him, with the likes of Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara and Aaron Smith. He’s also learnt from some of the best in Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.
“He came into the leadership group in 2013 when he was young. We saw he had leadership qualities and he had Richie McCaw there to look at how he led, and then he sat alongside Kieran Read. He played next to him and followed his leadership for four years. He’s had some great mentors and he’s won a World Cup and he’s lost a World Cup. They are good qualifications too, as it means he has a bit of balance on both sides of the ledger.”
With his new captain locked in, Foster is chomping at the bit to lead the All Blacks for the first time as head coach. He’s positive that he’ll get the chance to do so at some stage this year.
“I’m incredibly hopeful of that. It’s one of those key messages, keep doing the right thing everyone, because if we do the trend is looking good. I’m totally passionate about the All Blacks playing, and I believe we will. When you look at where Australia is trending and the Pacific Islands, we have some local options which are positive at the moment.
“But apart from the All Blacks, I’m excited about hopefully seeing some Super Rugby soon. On our leadership calls you can sense the excitement from the players, and they want to play.”
Foster said there are a lot of options on the table and when the borders open up, they know for sure they’ll be playing.
“Who knows which border is going to open first. Clearly, you would think a Bledisloe Cup series is going to be very possible later in the year. We could be playing in December in the lead into Christmas. But there is also a great opportunity to get excited about our domestic competitions with Super Rugby and the Mitre 10 Cup. I’m equally as excited about seeing those teams play, because then the country has something to support in their own backyard.”