Foster's All Blacks assistants group set to take shape

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Wellington Hurricanes’ John Plumtree is expected to be named as an assistant to newly appointed All Blacks head coach Ian Foster on Thursday after the Super Rugby team called a media conference to discuss their coaching situation.

New Zealand media have widely reported that the Hurricanes head coach had been asked to take the role of forwards coach under Foster, who was appointed last week to succeed Steve Hansen.

New Zealand Rugby have yet to name any of Foster’s coaching staff.

In addition to Plumtree, local media have reported that Scarlets head coach Brad Mooar, former Ireland assistant coach Greg Feek and Hansen’s defence coach Scott McLeod were also likely to join Foster’s setup.

Plumtree has been involved with the Hurricanes since 2015, first as an assistant to Chris Boyd before he was elevated to the head coaching role last year.

Hurricanes Chief Executive Avan Lee, who will be at the media conference on Thursday, had said earlier this month that if Plumtree was recruited for the national coaching ranks then they would likely replace him from within for next year.

Assistant coach Jason Holland would be the most likely candidate to take over the Hurricanes role for next year’s Super Rugby season, which starts on Jan. 31, with Chris Gibbes expected to take on more responsibility.

“Obviously we’ve got some good coaches already, and realistically to go to the market now for a competition that’s already in it’s pre-season would be incredibly difficult,” Lee told reporters.

“There are people on the market, but to bring someone in cold would be pretty challenging.”

New Zealander Mooar is reportedly close to joining Foster, with Welsh club Scarlets resigned to losing him but seeking compensation from NZR to secure an early release, Wales Online reported on Tuesday.

Mooar only took control of Scarlets earlier this year on a three-year contract after he helped Scott Robertson guide the Canterbury Crusaders to a third successive Super Rugby title.

Wales Online also reported Scarlets were seeking 200,000 pounds ($256,600.00) to release Mooar from his contract.

Mooar, a qualified lawyer who moved into rugby coaching, told New Zealand’s Newshub this week conversations were ongoing between Scarlets and NZR.

“The question has been asked,” he said. “We are grown adults and are having responsible conversations, and things will pan out.

“I am torn, yes. This is tough and both options are outstanding. We will just have to keep the conversations going.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford