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What the All Blacks can learn from U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team

By Finn Morton
Sam Cane and coach Ian Foster of New Zealand look on after winning The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australia Wallabies at Forsyth Barr Stadium on August 05, 2023 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Four-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winners the United States bowed out of this year’s tournament in the Round of 16 following a thrilling penalty shootout with Sweden on Sunday.

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Sweden is third on the world rankings, but the United States were strong favourites going into the knockout stages of the competition.

An ad from Fox Sports in the United States has since gone viral on social media, with the video asking “What’s it going to take to stop this US team?” They were big favourites but fell short.

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With the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France rapidly approaching, All Blacks coach Ian Foster briefly reflected on the lessons that his team can learn from the USWNT.

“We’re building,” Foster told reporters on Monday. “We’ve got to prove it’s to something special, don’t we? That’s what World Cups are about.

“We need no more reminders than you look around the last few months with World Cups, you look at the football, you look at teams like USA getting knocked out. You look at the Netball and that’s sad for the New Zealand team there.

“World Cups are tough because they come down to the form in each week. I’ve certainly experienced that at World Cups.”

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The All Blacks were a different team a year ago – but not for the right reasons. New Zealand were beaten by Ireland, South Africa and Argentina, and just snuck by fierce rivals Australia in Melbourne.

While they were able to turn a corner during a successful end-of-season tour, many rugby fans still questioned whether this All Blacks team has what it takes to win the World Cup.

But here we are, a month out from the tournament, and the All Blacks have looked like world-beaters during their four Tests in 2023.

Following big wins over Argentina, South Africa and Australia, New Zealand appears to be peaking at just the right time.

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“What I like is the message that we’re driving and the tone that we’ve set is about narrowing and just nailing our focus each week,” Foster added during a press conference in Napier.

“We tried to make no excuses for performances in the first four Tests of the year. We categorically said the next Test was vital for us, that we grew, because we wanted to simulate the mental pressure that goes into World Cups.

“From that perspective, we’re feeling like we’re in a good place. I’m looking forward to this time in Napier to breathe a little bit as a team and connect a little bit off the park.

“Having eight days at home will be nice. (Can) mow the lawns and trim the hedges and do all that sort of stuff and then hop on a plane and get really, really excited. We’re going with a lot of confidence.”

The All Blacks will play one more Test before this year’s World Cup, and it’s a big one. New Zealand take on rivals South Africa at Twickenham later at the end of the month.

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3 Comments
W
Warner 345 days ago

Who is this Finn
RWC and FIFA USA Woman's losses got absolutely no comparison apart from they lost their semis.
We haven't played RWC yet and albeit NZ will be in final 4 .
Finn you should be grinding the Northern Hemisphere teams as they have only won 1 RWC in its history the whole of Europe billions invested so pull yr head out of your ass. SOUTH will win another RWC 2023.
The Stats are clear and numbers don't lie ,
8/9 Southern
1/9 Northern .
your beloved SIX NATIONS is obviously not a stepping stone to RWC glory.
You only need look at RED ROSES they came to NZ Super Stars , 30 in a row , your scribes named them greatest woman's team in history , your commentators , played the game in the media with an England victory every time.
Watching the English coach and players fist pumping as English took an early lead.
We know the result it , was the same as the previous result .
There's the if we didn't get a red card , well you did rest is history.
Listening to Sara Hunter after the match she used the same words she used 2017.

C
Charles 345 days ago

USWNT can teach the ABs two things ...how to choke and how to disrespect their national anthem

J
Jmann 347 days ago

Most people fail to realise just how bad the covid lockdowns affected not only NZ but NZ rugby.

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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