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Ian Foster praises Cam Roigard after ‘impressive’ start to All Blacks career

By Finn Morton
Cam Roigard of New Zealand breaks clear with the ball to score the team's first try during the Summer International match between New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on August 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

When the full-time siren sounded at Twickenham on Friday night, the All Blacks didn’t have a lot to smile about. They’d lost, badly, to their arch-rivals South Africa.

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Playing in front of more than 80,000 people in London, the Springboks made a statement ahead of next month’s Rugby World Cup with a 35-7 win.

But there was one shining light for the New Zealanders on one of the darkest days in the history of the All Blacks. Cam Roigard was simply sensational off the bench.

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The two-Test All Black made his debut in front of almost 84,000 people at the world-famous MCG in Australia last month, but hasn’t been called upon by coach Foster since.

But back in black to play the Boks, Roigard didn’t look out of place. The rising star appears more than ready to shine at the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

Roigard is made for the big stage.

The All Blacks were beaten in all facets of the Test on Friday, but the replacement helped breathe new life into an underperforming side late in the piece.

Roigard, 22, helped the All Blacks avoid the dreaded ‘naught’ by scoring a brilliant solo try. The electric No. 22 created something special out of nothing.

Fixture
Internationals
New Zealand
7 - 35
Full-time
South Africa
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The rising star made another half-break or two before the Test was done, and was both reliable and quick with his passing game as well.

Roigard is certainly a player to watch at the World Cup.

“I think he’s been impressive the way he’s trained and we said we just really wanted to get him on the park again,” coach Ian Foster told reporters on Saturday.

“We’re impressed with him at the MCG and enjoyed his training and I thought he came in really calm.

“There was a lot of young players on the park in that second half and it wasn’t easy for them to get the cohesion that they wanted but I thought he looked really calm and did what he does well.”

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Jon 1 hours ago
Sam Cane was unfairly cast in Richie McCaw's shadow for too long

> McCaw’s durability and sustained excellence were unique, but we seemed to believe his successors were cut from the same cloth. It’s easy to forget McCaw was just as heavily critiqued for the last two years of his career. The only real difference was his captaining criticisms and his playing criticisms happened at different times, where Cane was criticized for a few things in both areas for all of his last 4 years. This was also heavily influenced by another McCaw esque presence, in Ardie Savea, being in the team and pushed out of his original position. It could be said we essentially didn’t have the 3 prior years with Ardie as world player of the year because he was changing into this new role. I say “original” position as despite him never coming out and saying his desire is to perform his role from, that I know of, clearly as part of a partnership with Cane as 7, I don’t think this was because he really wanted Cane’s playing spot. I think it most likely that it comes down to poor All Black management that those sort of debates weren’t put to bed as being needless and irrelevant. It has been brought up many times in past few months of discussions on articles here at RP, that early calls in WC cycles, to say pigeonhole an All Black team into being required to have a physical dynamo on defence at 7 (and ballplyaer at 8 etc) are detrimental. In the end we did not even come up against a team that threw large bodies at us relentlessly, like why we encountered in the 2019 WC semi final, at all in this last WC. Even then they couldn’t see the real weakness was defending against dynamic attacks (which we didn’t want to/couldn’t give 2019 England credit for) like the Twickenham Boks, and Irish and French sides (even 10 minutes of an English onslaught) that plagued our record and aura the last 4 years. It really is a folly that is the All Blacks own creation, and I think it pure luck, and that Cane was also such a quality All Black, that he was also became an integral part of stopping the side from getting run off the park. Not just rampaged. > The hushed tones, the nods of approval, the continued promotion of this nonsense that these men are somehow supernatural beings. I bet this author was one of those criticizing Cane for coming out and speaking his mind in defence of his team that year. Despite the apparent hypocrisy I agree with the sentiment, but I can only see our last captain as going down the same road his two prior captains, Read and McCaw, have gone. I am really for Cane becoming an extra member to each squad this year, June, RC, and November tours, and he is really someone I can see being able to come back into the role after 3 seasons in Japan. As we saw last year, we would have killed for someone of his quality to have been available rather than calling on someone like Blackadder. Just like the Boks did for 2023.

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