Still plenty for All Blacks to work on

Lynn McConnell     04 Oct 2017    

Assistant coach Ian Foster said success could be measured in different ways and while the All Blacks enjoyed a high level of success there were aspects in their game that were not as successful as they liked and working towards a more complete performance was their driver.

Foster said the 57-0 win over South Africa in their first encounter of the year at Albany had been an undoubtedly special game but they didn't repeat the effort a week later. There had also been lessons in their Tests with Australia so that what happened in the past wasn't always an indicator of what would happen in the future.

"As far as we are concerned we are playing the South Africans in South Africa and these are special Test matches and if you look through the last three or four Test matches over here there have been some amazing games and we've had to put everything on the line to get the result we wanted," he said.

Foster said no matter what had happened before there was still an edge between New Zealand and South Africa when the players were out in the middle. It was a rivalry steeped in tradition, especially when playing in South Africa, the games were special and the All Blacks loved them.

But they were also mindful that the demands of the schedule ensured that there was extra pressure on the side in their preparation.

"Like every team we have issues with travel, this is our hard week. We have got to be really smart with the time we use," he said.

It was a case of getting energy levels high, the brain adjusted and clear, all at a time when they can't do a lot of on-field work. It involved different techniques in preparation but the aim was to arrive at the game on Saturday in their usual place, he said.

"It's a slightly different angle to how you want to prepare but the goal of what you want to achieve out of your preparation is the same. You want everyone on the same page, understanding what we want to do, how we want to do it and how we adapt and adjust during a game.

"In a normal week you are able to do a lot of that scenario stuff on the training ground, here you can't," Foster said.

In assessing the Argentina Test, Foster said Argentina had played 'really well' in the third quarter by holding onto the ball a lot and doing to the All Blacks what South Africa had done to New Zealand at Albany.

"They really took it to us, carried hard and we were hanging in there for a while but it was when we had the opportunity to put the pressure back on them that we didn't get the calmness in our game and we started to look for too many things, we had too many people seeing different pictures and we weren't connecting and that just snow-balled in that last 15 minutes," he said.

Identifying the issues was easier than executing what you knew was right under a lot of pressure, in a lot of different circumstances was not easy but the team was working on sorting that out.