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Ian Foster's message for All Blacks supporters: 'This is a very good Irish team'

By Tom Vinicombe
Ian Foster. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

While Ian Foster wasn’t interested in talking about his future as All Blacks‘ coach following New Zealand’s 10-point loss to Ireland on Saturday evening, he did have a message for fans around the country who have been expressing growing frustration with the All Blacks’ performances in recent times.

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Ireland earned their first-ever win over the All Blacks in New Zealand last weekend when they secured a 23-12 win in Dunedin and in also beating them 32-22 in Wellington, Ireland have become just the third nation to achieve a series win in NZ.

Factoring in losses to both Ireland and France on last year’s end-of-year tour, it’s fair to say that All Blacks fans are now becoming increasingly unhappy with Foster’s tenure as the top dog.

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Sam Cane is lost for words followng the All Blacks’ series loss to Ireland.
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Sam Cane is lost for words followng the All Blacks’ series loss to Ireland.

Speaking after the defeat at Sky Stadium, Foster moved to quell the concerns of those around New Zealand who are likely feeling especially disappointed after another historical loss.

“First and foremost, I think New Zealanders have probably got to realise this is a very good Irish team and give them some credit,” he said, “I think it would be disrespectful for us to not make that the number one item.

“They’ve come and achieved something pretty special here and I think they deserve a bit of time in the sun for that.

“For us, we’re a group working hard, we’re working on solutions. We’ve got a lot of belief in many of the solutions we’ve got but we’ve now got to get better at executing them and so we’ve been given a real marker in the sand for where we’re at.”

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All Blacks captain Sam Cane also emphasised that while things aren’t coming together just yet for the side, the team is doing everything they can to right their wrongs and bring some pride back to the black jersey.

“I know for a fact that boys are trying extremely hard and are hurting a lot right now,” he said. “So I think the only good thing that can come out of this is we use it for fuel to get better.

“If we don’t learn, if we don’t use this whole experience, the last [part] of this series to learn and be better, then it’s just wasted. We’ve just got to pick ourselves up real quickly, find solutions, look at positives and find a way to go forward from it.”

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Foster was a contentious selection for head coach when appointed following the 2019 World Cup with Crusaders maestro Scott Robertson a popular candidate around New Zealand.

With Robertson going from success to success year after year with the Crusaders, calls for a change-up in the coaching set-up are inevitable but Foster made it clear that he’s adamant he can take the team forward and they can build from their run of disappointing results.

“Yes,” was his one-word reply when queried whether he was confident he can ‘make the team better’.

The All Blacks will play their next two matches in South Africa in the opening two rounds of the Rugby Championship, with the first taking place in Johannesburg on August 6.

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