All Blacks coach Ian Foster has given a blunt assessment of his team’s performance in their loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday night, admitting there will be some things they simply have to take on the chin.
The All Blacks fell to a 24-22 defeat at the hands of their trans-Tasman rivals in a chaotic game which saw both teams receive a red and yellow card.
But while the Australians bounced back from a 43-5 defeat a week prior, Foster said Saturday night’s scoreline was more a reflection of his side’s performance than a turnaround from the Australians.
“I didn’t see a massive difference in the Wallabies to be honest,” Foster said, speaking the day after the match. “I thought the first 20, apart from the first try we conceded – and good on the Wallabies for that – but I thought we looked reasonably composed with the ball, we were creating stuff; I don’t think we potentially actually backed ourselves to get the ball to the space that we needed to.
“We’ll take some of that on the chin. It might be combinations and people coming back in, I get all that.”
In a game full of emotion with a number of scuffles breaking out, the All Blacks failed to respond as Foster would have liked and were unable to capitalise on a number of promising periods.
While there are plenty of things to work on heading into this weekend’s match against Argentina, Foster said there were bright spots in the loss.
“I’m not sure how the narrative goes about this game, but I was intensely proud with many things,” Foster said. “We were under a lot of pressure, withstood a lot of pressure, physically we kind of ran ourselves into the ground there for a while.
“But you could just see that our game tightened up. We got narrow in our perspective, we got narrow in the way that we played, and that to me is an indication of where we’re not seeing things clearly and responding to the opposition rather than being proactive and forcing them to start responding to us.
“You can’t just keep bashing yourself against a brick wall when you’re feeling frustrated because it makes it easier for them to get physical with you. That was my frustration – we lost our ability to step back and say ‘Okay, what can we do here that’s going to widen our game a little bit and change the picture?’
“There’s a massive degree of emotion and feeling whenever the Wallabies play the All Blacks, and [Saturday] night’s a classic case of it. When people talk about dead rubber and all that, clearly our number one priority was to win the Bledisloe, we did that, but we needed to back that up and really launch ourselves into the Tri Nations, and we also needed to make another statement against the Wallabies and we didn’t.”
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