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'Red card and there goes the game': Foster reflects on All Blacks' record loss

By Ben Smith
Scott Barrett of New Zealand is sent off by Referee Matthew Carley after a receiving a second yellow card 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)

A day after the All Blacks record 35-7 defeat to South Africa at Twickenham, head coach Ian Foster talked to reporters in London after having time to digest the result.


The All Blacks head coach hasn’t lost any confidence despite a ‘rusty’ performance and the lopsided final scoreline, with the ‘perfect storm’ conspiring to turn the side’s fortunes around.

The game was used as a platform to give a number of key players minutes after sitting out since the Test against the Wallabies in Melbourne.

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“In many ways it was a perfect storm,” Foster said of the loss.

“We had seven players who hadn’t had a game of rugby in four weeks and they needed this game.

“Our mindset was to go in really hard at it. I thought we looked rusty.

“I thought South Africa were outstanding in terms of how they pressured us in the areas they wanted to pressure us.

“That coincided with a red card and there goes the game.”

“It was still a game we needed and we will use that very well in a fortnight’s time.”

The red card to Scott Barrett, after his second yellow of the evening, proved to be a pivotal moment which put a young All Blacks pack into the firing line.

Luke Jacobson was subsitituted off for Tupou Vaa’i, while Sam Whitelock was taken off 10 minutes into the second half for Josh Lord.


Down to 14-men the Springboks set-piece gained ascendency and milked the momentum off the scrum and maul to dominate proceedings.

“I think we are confident and I know it didn’t look like that,” Foster said.

“I know we got a good spanking, and I’m not hiding from that fact but if you go through Tyrel, Ethan, Scott Barrett, the likes of Jordie, Rieko, Beaudy, they hadn’t played since the MCG.

“There is not much we can do about that because that’s the scheduling.

“We had to make a decision on do we play them right through to Dunedin into that Test and maybe give them this one off, or have a whole group of our team not battle-hardened that hasn’t played.


“You make those decisions and we live or die by them, but we’re not panicking after that result last night.

“We knew we were going to get challenged, it’s not the result we wanted butI still believe in the plan.

“The group that needed to play, played. ”




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Chesterfield 291 days ago

The plan of keeping the Saffa pack out of set piece did not work as the ref was intent on making everything a set piece and not allowing the AB to compete on an even playing field. By allowing Saffa to lift over the top of the line and then claiming AB were early, bias at its worst.
The Bokke can’t handle it if the ball is constantly in play like in Auckland where they did not get a line out for almost 30 minutes.
They are big, strong units but not fit enough if kept moving.
If Scotland and Ireland don’t let them rest at set piece they’ll not make it out of their group.

Kevin 293 days ago

Ben didn't you say that your C Team were going to give the Boks a Hiding ?

Anathi 293 days ago

A lot of amnesia here I see. There was scrum ascendancy in the Boks favour prior to any cards being shown.

KiwiSteve 293 days ago

At the international level you will never win down to 13 and then a red. At that point the game is over. The score irrelevant. What happens after doesn’t matter and doesn’t tell us anything about the future. If anything it will have really wound up the ABs which is bad for France in in 2 weeks.

B.J. Spratt 293 days ago

"it’s not the result we wanted but I still believe in the plan"

That's the problem Ian. The plan failed. The All Blacks "Panicked" I have never seen an All Black Team panic like that in my life.

When professionals in a Team panic like that it usually means one of two things. Poor Training, lack of self belief or a combination of both.

Get some help, eat some humble pie and Change The Plan. You may believe in your plan. The fact is the plan failed against the Springboks.

Other teams can clearly see your plan. South Africa clearly did, so change the plan Ian.

There will be plenty of people who can help you, all you have to do is ask!

By the way the Three Barrett brothers have 33% of all Red Cards handed out to All Blacks in the last 100 years.

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