Foster pleads for time for ‘rebuilding’ All Blacks

Coach Ian Foster on Saturday pleaded with the New Zealand public for patience after the All Blacks lost to Argentina on home soil for the first time in Christchurch.

A dark cloud is again hanging over Foster after a performance that cast the All Blacks’ 35-23 win over the Springboks in Johannesburg two weeks ago as a false dawn.

That win – ending three successive defeats – was enough to convince New Zealand Rugby to retain Foster as coach through to next year’s World Cup.

HIGHLIGHTS: Argentina stun All Blacks in Christchurch

The decision was criticised as conservative by many in the New Zealand rugby fraternity who wanted Crusaders coach Scott Robertson promoted to the top job.

Foster said he was aware Saturday’s 25-18 defeat will throw fuel on the fire for critics but asked for more time to get his side playing to a higher standard.

“For us, there’s a shed-full of people that are hurting right now, including me,” he said.

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“We don’t like losing and we understand our country doesn’t like us losing. I guess we’re all in the same boat in that place – it does hurt. As I’ve said over the last few weeks, we are a team that’s rebuilding and sometimes confidence doesn’t come at the speed that we want it to.”

Foster said he was pleased with several parts of New Zealand’s game but criticised his players’ lack of accuracy in the closing stages. Trailing by seven points, they had numerous attacking opportunities foiled by botched lineouts and poor option-taking. He said those mistakes highlighted shortcomings that can be ironed out if given time.

“I was a bit surprised with us in the last quarter, to be honest… we didn’t execute in some big moments at the end,” Foster said. “I guess it’s that little bit of belief about how to play your way out of tough situations and, I guess, how to problem-solve.

“In South Africa we saw a little bit of that start to creep into our game, which is positive, we started to problem-solve certain situations. Today we probably got stuck in one mode. There are a lot of really good teams that are going to try to slow us down and suffocate us. It’s how we break through that.”

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© Agence France-Presse

Photo: Phill Makagoe/AFP via Getty Images

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