Will Jordan's 'clumsy' contest the final nail in coffin for All Blacks
A variety of kicking options were deployed but unless it was winger Mark Telea on the receiving end, there was little reward for the surrendering of possession.
It was Telea who drew first blood in the World Cup opener thanks to a cross-field dime from the boot of Beauden Barrett. But, unfortunately for the All Blacks, fellow winger and try-scoring phenom Will Jordan couldn’t find synergy with his kickers to the same avail.
Jordan chased plenty of bombs from his fullback but found the referee’s whistle more than the ball in his aerial challenges.
The winger’s resulting yellow card confounded the discipline issues for New Zealand. Foster put his side’s high penalty count down to one major factor:
“Pressure,” he told reporters in Paris. “You have to give France some credit for that.
“Will [Jordan] was a bit clumsy with a couple of aerial things and the second one didn’t help us. The yellow card came at a bad time against a team who like to exploit the back-field.
“France were good enough to take advantage of that but our discipline was pretty good in the first half. When we had ball, we played with a lot of ambition, there was a lot of good stuff. It was just frustrating we couldn’t really strike in that second half.”
It was one-way traffic on the scoreboard after Telea struck again to start the second half. France ran home with an 18-0 run in the final 38 minutes.
That wasn’t necessarily a fair reflection of the competitive nature of the match in the eyes of Foster, who thought his team deserved a tighter scoreline.
“It certainly felt like that but it is what it is. They were good enough at the end and got the bounce of the ball at the end which inflated the score a bit but it was a pretty tough game for both sides.
“I thought they were out on their feet in the last 10 minutes before half-time and we should have been a bit more efficient. We missed it in the corner with a loose pass, we weren’t quite good enough.”
Much like the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the two teams have the potential to face each other again in the final.
And just like the 2011 final, Foster says he has every bit of faith in his team going all the way to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
“I do but we have to shift a couple of areas to be more efficient in the air. We were not good at chasing our own kicks today, that’s obvious. We scrummed well for spells in that game but the pictures we painted allowed them to exploit us so we will have to chase that up with the officials.
“Most of the penalties were about them getting on the ball really quickly and us not being able to move them. That’s something we can control and take a lot of pride in. But they have set a pretty high bar for us, so we have been given that message.”
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