'We got stuck in one mode': Foster highlights All Blacks' shortcomings
REACTION: The All Blacks coach Ian Foster remains adamant his team will ‘iron out’ their shortcomings following the defeat to the Los Pumas on Saturday.
Foster also pleaded with the New Zealand public for patience after his side lost to Argentina on home soil for the first time in Christchurch.
A dark cloud is now hanging over Foster and his team again after a performance that cast their 35-23 win over the Springboks in Johannesburg two weeks ago as a false dawn.
That win – ending three successive defeats – was enough to convince New Zealand Rugby to retain Foster as coach through to next year’s World Cup.
The decision was criticised as conservative by many in the New Zealand rugby fraternity who wanted Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson promoted to the top job.
Foster said he was aware Saturday’s 18-25 defeat will throw fuel on the fire for critics but asked for more time to get his side playing to a higher standard.
*Article continues below…
“For us, there’s a shed-full of people that are hurting right now, including me,” he said.
“We don’t like losing and we understand our country doesn’t like us losing. I guess we’re all in the same boat in that place – it does hurt.
“As I’ve said over the last few weeks, we are a team that’s rebuilding and sometimes confidence doesn’t come at the speed that we want it to.”
Foster said he was pleased with several parts of New Zealand’s game but criticised his players’ lack of accuracy in the closing stages.
Trailing by seven points, they had numerous attacking opportunities foiled by botched lineouts and poor option-taking.
He said those mistakes highlighted shortcomings that can be ironed out if given time.
“I was a bit surprised with us in the last quarter, to be honest, we didn’t execute in some big moments in the end,” Foster said.
“I guess it’s that little bit of belief about how to play your way out of tough situations and, I guess, how to problem-solve.
“In South Africa, we saw a little bit of that start to creep into our game, which is positive, we started to problem-solve certain situations.
“We probably got stuck in one mode. There are a lot of really good teams that are going to try to slow us down and suffocate us. It’s how we break through that.”
*Article continues below…
Foster admitted his players didn’t deal well with conceding an early try to Los Pumas.
“We conceded that try at the kick-off, a bit fortunate, and after that, they grew an arm and a leg, and we probably got perhaps a little bit flustered,” he said.
“So we’ve got to look at our composure in the latter stages, particularly with the bench coming on, and we’ve just got to make sure we’re a little bit more ruthless at the breakdown.
“Congratulations to Argentina, they kept true to how they wanted to play, they really frustrated us,” he added.
“We didn’t get what we wanted at the breakdown. We had large periods of dominance in our set-piece but that didn’t go well at the end.
“But overall they got away with some stuff at the breakdown and we weren’t able to deal with it.”
*Additional source: Rugbypass