Carlos Spencer has given his backing to under-pressure head coach Ian Foster as the former All Blacks star prepares to return to the boxing ring.
Spencer will return to the boxing ring on Thursday, but admitted it was a hard fight to convince his wife about his latest charity bout.
The 46-year-old will face ex-New Zealand rugby league star Paul Whatuira, 40, over three rounds in Auckland in a ‘Fight for Life’ charity event.
“This one was always going to be hard getting it across the line with my wife,” Spencer told news site Stuff.co.nz.
“This is the last thing she thinks I should be doing.
“She thinks I’m bloody mad and I’m a bloody idiot, but I managed to convince her that I’ll be fine and it is for a great cause, after all.”
Spencer will be back in the ring after previous charity bouts against ex-league players Awen Guttenbeil, Jarrod McCracken and most recently Monty Betham, his only defeat, in 2014.
Spencer retired from rugby in 2010 having made 44 appearances and scoring 383 points for New Zealand.
He has just returned from the USA after a stint as assistant coach to Major League Rugby side New Orleans Gold.
“I’ve only been back in New Zealand for four weeks,” Spencer told the New Zealand Herald.
“It’s about learning to box again rather than conditioning.
“I’ve put on weight — I’m normally around 84kg, but I’ve put on six kilos in three weeks, to get a bit more power behind my punches.”
Like many fellow New Zealanders, Spencer was dismayed to see the All Blacks lose the home series to Ireland after a 32-22 defeat in last Saturday’s third Test in Wellington.
“They’ve become a bit predictable on attack,” Spencer said of the All Blacks.
“With the players we’ve got, that should never happen.
“Whereas the northern teams used to be a few steps behind us, they are a step ahead now I think.
“Ireland have good variety to their game and play an exciting brand -– I enjoy watching them.”
Despite this, Spencer gave his backing to Foster, to continue in his role through to the 2023 World Cup.
“It’s a tough one”, Spencer said when asked about Foster’s future. “Do you want that disruption now? They’ve still got plenty of time before the World Cup, but I think if he’s going to go in with the same mindset he’s gone with in the Ireland series then maybe it’s time for a change.
“I still believe they have got the right coaches in place. They are experienced, they’ve been around. The players have got to take a little bit of accountability as well.”
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images
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