‘Ex­press your­self’, coach Foster tells All Blacks

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

As­sis­tant coach Ian Foster has urged the All Blacks to ex­press them­selves and use their brains in this week­end’s Test se­ries de­cider against the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions. While stung by a 24-21 loss to the Lions in Welling­ton, Foster said “it’s not all doom and gloom for us” as the third Test looms in Auck­land on Satur­day.

“We’ve done some re­ally good stuff in the last two weeks but it’s pretty clear that there’s more in us,” he said. “We’ve got to fo­cus on that and make sure that in all cir­cum­stances-whether it’s wet and cold or windy or what­ever-we’re still able to ex­press our­selves when we want to.

“We’ve proven we can get par­ity (in the for­wards) and front-foot ball and we’ve got to make sure we’re smart in us­ing that.” The reign­ing world cham­pi­ons were con­vinc­ing 30-15 win­ners in the first Test at Eden Park, where they out-mus­cled the Lions for­wards.

The Lions then hit back a week later af­ter Sonny Bill Wil­liams’ send­ing off for a shoul­der charge re­duced the hosts to 14 men for much of the match.

Nei­ther en­counter fea­tured the All Blacks’ trade­mark ex­pan­sive game, with Lions coach War­ren Gat­land say­ing he was yet to see them play “cham­pagne rugby”. Foster said the Welling­ton de­feat hinged on the red card, a sit­u­a­tion the All Blacks had not faced for 50 years and was dif­fi­cult to plan for. He con­ceded the All Blacks, while still con­trol­ling the game for long pe­ri­ods, went into their shell slightly af­ter los­ing a man and did not pur­sue at­tack­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties with their usual vigour.

“Prob­a­bly our vi­sion was a bit nar­row,” he said. “That’s a work-on for us, be­cause it’s not some­thing that’s nat­u­ral to us, but we al­lowed our­selves to get into that mode.”


Flanker Jerome Kaino said re­turn­ing to Eden Park for the win­ner-takes-all third Test felt like the fi­nal of a World Cup-a tour­na­ment he has won twice. “It def­i­nitely has that feel. The ex­cite­ment we had at train­ing to­day backs that up,” he said.

“The Lions are a great side and there’s a lot of his­tory be­tween th­ese two teams, so be­ing 1-1 it does have that feel­ing about it.”

Kaino said there was “an edge” to the New Zealan­ders ahead of the game and they wanted to im­pose them­selves while also main­tain­ing dis­ci­pline.

He was not con­cerned about a north­ern hemi­sphere ref­eree-France’s Ro­main Poite-be­ing in charge of the match. “We know how we can play phys­i­cal and within the laws, so we’ll just let the ref in­ter­pret how he wants to in­ter­pret and make sure we do our ba­sics re­ally well,” he said.

The 80-Test vet­eran said a row be­tween Lions prop Kyle Sinck­ler and some All Blacks af­ter the siren in Welling­ton would not af­fect the hosts’ at­ti­tude to­ward the match.

“I don’t think it’s our style to drag things off the field and carry it on. It just hin­ders what you want to do and how you want to im­prove,” he said. “There’s al­ways go­ing to be feel­ing be­tween th­ese two team and when we cross those white lines we throw it out there, but once we leave I think we should dump it and not bring it into our prepa­ra­tion.” —AFP

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