He now helps coach the All Blacks, but Ian Foster says he still feels "part of" the Chiefs' remarkable Super Rugby success this season.
Foster was the Chiefs' head coach between 2004 and 2011, with a trip to the semifinal in his debut year and the final in 2009 his biggest achievements.
The Chiefs stumbled to a disappointing 10th place last season before new coaches Dave Rennie, Wayne Smith and Tom Coventry engineered a turnaround that will culminate in Saturday's final against the Sharks in Hamilton.
Asked yesterday if he felt disappointed not to be part of it, Foster said: "In some ways you do feel part of it, part of the history of the Chiefs and I worked really hard to try and achieve that result and didn't quite get there.
"But I'm just delighted they've done it and really hope that they climb that final hurdle. We fell one short in 2009, it would be great to see them make it in 2012."
With Conrad Smith ruled out of the first two Rugby Championship tests, backs coach Foster said Highlanders utility Ben Smith was in a midfield selection mix that included Sonny Bill Williams, Ma'a Nonu and Tamati Ellison.
Playing Dan Carter outside Aaron Cruden had not been discounted.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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