New Zealand head coach Ian Foster concedes that his future remains uncertain, despite their momentous victory over South Africa on Saturday.
Following a dreadful run of five defeats in six, including a 26-10 reversal at the hands of the Springboks last weekend, Foster has been a man under significant pressure.
There were reports that another loss to the Boks would pretty much guarantee his departure, but he has perhaps kept himself in the role until the end of the competition following Saturday’s success.
That is not guaranteed, however, with suggestions before the game that even a victory at Ellis Park might not save the beleaguered head coach.
Enjoying the win
And asked by Sky Sport if he would still be in charge for the Argentina games, Foster responded: “I have no idea, I am just going to enjoy tonight.
“It’s never easy when you are coming off a couple of losses, but so proud. Just so proud of the effort. It’s swings and roundabouts … they hung in and finished strong.”
Foster also felt a certain amount of vindication after saying their performance last week was the ‘best of the year’ as they built on aspects of that display to emerge triumphant in Johannesburg.
“I know I got a little bit mocked for saying that last week, after the loss, but we made a big shift last week through our forward pack,” he added.
“The work (forwards coach) Jason Ryan has done out there was strong, and I really felt we were creating a few opportunities. We wanted it so much we were rushing things. Whereas today, we were just more patient.”
‘Pride’ was the watchword for the All Blacks, who overcame a series of poor results and the stinging criticism that has come with it to defeat their great rivals at the hostile Ellis Park.
“Proud is an understatement, mate,” captain Sam Cane told SuperSport.
“Through adversity, it really challenges your character and this group has got plenty of character. It’s never been a question of how much we care or how much we want it.
“We just needed to get a few parts of our game right and yeah, a massive challenge coming here, one of the toughest places in the world to play and the group stepped up massively.
“Hugely proud. I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been supporting us, particularly the last month which has been pretty challenging. We feel all that support and jeez, it means a lot.”
Key facets in the victory
Cane also identified several areas which were key to their huge triumph over the Springboks, which put them in Rugby Championship contention.
“Look, we were a lot better at the breakdown tonight and we dealt with the box kicks, the contestables, a lot better,” he added.
“Set-piece was good, we defended the maul really well so lots of little parts of our game which is what Test footy is about, getting little parts of your game right time and time angina so you can build some pressure. Massively stoked.”