All Blacks: New Zealand Rugby boss says Ireland series loss is ‘not acceptable’

David Skippers

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has voiced his displeasure at the All Blacks’ 2-1 series defeat to Ireland and described the three-time world champions’ recent performances as “not acceptable”.

One day after Ireland’s 32-22 triumph sealed a 2-1 series victory, Robinson voiced his displeasure at the All Blacks’ recent performances – they have lost four of their last five Tests – as the pressure increases on the team’s head coach, Ian Foster, ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

First home series loss in 28 years

The series defeat to Ireland was New Zealand‘s first on home soil since 1994, when they lost back-to-back Tests against France, and Robinson issued a strongly worded statement on the matter on Sunday.

“Congratulations to the Irish team for their well-deserved win last night, but clearly the performance across the series for the All Blacks was not acceptable as we know they have reflected,” he said.

“We all know there is a huge amount of work to do.

“Our focus now is to work with Ian and his team to understand thoroughly in advance of the Rugby Championship what is needed to improve performance and where to from here.

“We will begin this work immediately.”

Foster would not answer questions about his future at Saturday’s post-match press conference in Wellington.

“I just want to talk about this Test match,” Foster said.

Ireland held a 22-3 lead at half-time in Saturday’s game and the 57-year-old battled to explain why the All Blacks made a poor start for the third successive week.

“Not really because we’ve talked a lot about it. For some reason we’re not as calm, particularly defensively. It’s more the defence where we’re getting fidgety early, we’re letting a few holes through,” said Foster. “Ireland aren’t a team that you can allow to get behind you. That is when they play an up-tempo game. We’ve done that and it’s hurt us. We’ve worked on it but, again, they got that early momentum.

Better second half performance

“The first half we got too loose at times. In the second half we carried, we were more direct, some of our counter-attack stuff was working well. There were a couple of times post line breaks we couldn’t get our support quick enough on the man. Those moments hurt. We’ll dig into that.”

Foster was appointed as New Zealand’s head coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and was chosen for the job ahead of Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson, who has won multiple Super Rugby titles with the Christchurch-based franchise.

The All Blacks’ next match is against the Springboks in Mbombela in the Rugby Championship on August 7 and then again in Johannesburg on August 14.

READ MORE: Sam Cane: Ireland ‘too good’ for All Blacks in series decider