After winning only one of their opening seven matches of the season and sitting at the foot of the Top 14 table, the 2022 champions sacked head coach Richard Cockerill and his assistant Jean-Baptiste Élissalde over the weekend, with Patrice Collazo replacing him just days after he too was sacked by ProD2 outfit Brive. This swiftly happened after former France coach Bernard Laporte was named Montpellier’s director of rugby last week.
With Collazo only on an 18 month contract, Midi Libre have reported that both Foster and Schmidt are being lined up as potential head coach candidates in the long run, with Schmidt reportedly being the priority.
The pair have just come from guiding the All Blacks to within a point of World Cup glory, losing to South Africa in the final last month 12-11 in Paris. They had been working together since August 2022, when the former Ireland coach joined Foster’s coaching staff following the All Blacks’ series loss to Ireland. From there, they went on to win back-to-back Rugby Championships as well as coming second at the World Cup.
Despite their success, it was confirmed in March this year that Crusaders boss Scott Robertson and his coaching team would take over the All Blacks after the World Cup, leaving Foster and Schmidt free agents.
For the time being, Collazo will have a coaching staff of Vincent Etcheto, Christian Labit and Antoine Battut, as they plan to navigate Montpellier out of the relegation zone and arrest a run of six consecutive defeats. That will begin with a visit from eleventh placed Oyonnax this Saturday followed by a trip to Bayonne the week after.