NZ Herald

All Blacks skipper Sam Cane has backed coach Ian Foster after the side’s second straight defeat and first loss to Argentina.

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Under Foster, the All Blacks have won two of their first five games with defeats to the Wallabies in Brisbane followed by Saturday’s 25-15 loss to Argentina in Parramatta.

Talking to Sky’s The Breakdown show, Cane talked about various topics including criticism over Foster, where the All Blacks went wrong in the weekend and the difficulties of the side’s schedule in 2020.

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James Parsons and Sky Sport rugby commentator Jeff McTainsh share their picks for the Healthspan Elite Performance of the week from the win for Argentina over the All Blacks in the 2020 Rugby Championship.

“I’ve personally been very impressed with Foz,” Cane said.

“He’s given us really clear focusses about what we need to get better at, it doesn’t feel as if we are bogged down and don’t have the answers. A week’s a long time in sport, it was only two weeks ago everyone was singing praises.

He also said he has the backing of the side as skipper.

“To me, if I’m having my leadership questioned, the opinions which matter to me are my team mates’ and the coaches, who I work with every single day. I’ve got a lot of confidence from them that we’re on the right track,” he added.

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On the All Blacks gameplan, Cane said after reviewing the loss to Argentina the side missed opportunities out wide on attack.

“As a team a team when we’re trying so hard to get our attack back running particularly us as forwards or anyone of us who carries the ball actually wants to truck it up as hard as they can make the best carry, take the opposition on physically, when sometimes the most obvious option when we pause the video the day after a game and have a look is actually the space was two passes wider.

“But because of that almost tunnel vision, that willingness to take the ball up, we miss a couple of those opportunities. It only has to be a couple of those opportunities…particularly in the first half, can change the whole dynamic of a game,” he said.

Cane said fans don’t see the work that goes behind the scenes.

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“We’ve got some amazing fans but we’ve also got some pretty brutal ones. With that you’ve just got to remind yourself hey, they may like to think they know a lot about the game of rugby, in reality they don’t really. They may know the game from what they see in the 80 minutes, but they don’t see the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.

Without wanting to make excuses, Cane told the Breakdown that the All Blacks schedule and time away from New Zealand has taken its toll.

“We can’t underestimate playing five tests in six weeks, they only time we play so many test matches is at a World Cup, and we can’t underestimate the toll that takes on some guys being away from home, we’ve got a lot of young dads, look these aren’t excuses, it’s the reality really,” he added.

The All Blacks have the week off with the Wallabies hosting Argentina in Newcastle on Saturday.

Listen to the latest episode of the Aotearoa Rugby Pod below:

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and is republished with permission.

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