New All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has conveyed a heartfelt message to Scott Robertson, the man he beat to the top job.
Foster was on Wednesday named as Steve Hansen's successor after a nervy month and a gruelling interview earlier this week.
Robertson, who has won back-to-back-to-back Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, was the only other candidate to be interviewed by New Zealand Rugby's selection panel, comprising Brent Impey, Mark Robinson, Graham Henry, Mike Anthony and Waimarama Taumaunu.
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"The reason it's been such a tough process is because of the calibre of him [Robertson]. It's clear and obvious to everyone that he probably had the skillset to do it as well," Foster told Newstalk ZB's Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford.
"I guess we both had strong support from both sides of the fence and sometimes that can divide you as people. This is nothing personal and I feel for him but at the end of the day, the decision has been made and now it is time for everyone to put differences aside and get in behind this team that we love."
Foster, who has been the assistant coach to Hansen since late in 2011, admitted he expected the Rugby World Cup semifinal defeat to England to hurt his chances.
"I believed I was capable, I always have. The eight years that I've been here I've learned a lot of things and developed as a coach. That gave me a lot of confidence but you never go in knowing that you're going to get anything," he said.
"Particularly losing the semifinal of a World Cup put a bit of a dampener on things but I still wanted to put my hand up. I still felt I had a lot to offer. My angle was, the only thing I can control is to go in [to the interview] with a plan and a [coaching] group that I'm totally passionate would add value to this magnificent team.
"You go in with the attitude that if this is the plan for them [the panel] then I'm great and if not then obviously there's one out there that is pretty good."
Foster, who was regarded as a less popular choice among many pundits and fans, also had a message for All Blacks supporters.
"You have a commitment from me that I'll do the best I can to the best of my ability to make sure this team does well," Foster said.
"I'm sure he'll [Robertson] carry on doing that with that team he's coaching magnificently at the moment."