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Ian Foster responds after swipe at All Blacks' aura by Jamie Joseph

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has hit back at Jamie Joseph’s claim that teams no longer fear the All Blacks, following Japan’s valiant performance on Saturday.


Japan’s famous victory over the Springboks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup will go down in history as one of the most stunning results in the sports history, but they want more.

After wins over Scotland and Ireland at the most recent World Cup, the Brave Blossoms have established themselves as a team who are capable of the incredible.

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In just their fifth ever meeting in an official Test match against the All Blacks, Japan were ranked outsiders ahead of their clash in Tokyo.

The hosts scored four tries, and played with a man up after Brodie Retallick was sent off, and trailed by just four with a minute to play.

While they went on to lose 31-38, coach Jamie Joseph took a swipe at the All Blacks’ “armour” which he suggested may not be as protective in the modern game.

“Everyone is thinking about the All Blacks, and that’s part of their armour, really,” Joseph said.


“Having played for the All Blacks, one of the things we used to talk about 25 years ago was that everyone was a wee bit scared of us.

“Perhaps that’s not the case anymore, I’m not sure.

“We shut their lineout down, shut their maul down, but it still wasn’t enough and that sort of tells you how good the All Blacks are as a team.

“They key for us really is to go to England now and replicate that performance against a better team.”


The All Blacks were far from their clinical best, but some impressive performances from the likes of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Hoskins Sotutu are exciting going forward.

But in response to Joseph’s comment, coach Foster described it as a “nicely mischievous” thing for him to say after the close result.

“He’s obviously very happy with a close loss and he should be proud of his team’s effort, but we’ll take the win and move on,” Foster said.

“I’ve been around a lot of All Black teams where our first game as a group after a spell we’ve struggled.

“But there were certainly some parts that weren’t up to our standards, we scored 38 points with five nice tries, but if you look at your performance, particularly our lineout, it really didn’t function particularly well.

“We left a lot of opportunities there and probably our transition defence, where we just looked slow to move and not really connected, a couple of pretty critical areas I don’t think we were up to par.

“But it was also a pretty good Japan team we played against and in particular, that transition defence is an area of strength for them.

“They fed off the scraps and did it very well, we knew that it was coming and we weren’t quite quick enough but a good building block going forward.”

New Zealand, who are currently ranked fourth in the world, now head to Europe where they have three more games to play in 2022.

Next up for the All Blacks is Wales, before games against Scotland and England.


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