All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is disappointed that his team could only come away with a 25-25 draw against England after holding a strong position in the game with only minutes to play.
Foster’s men were 25-6 in front after 72 minutes before England engineered the most dramatic of comebacks, scoring three tries against the All Blacks, who had lost Beauden Barrett to the sin bin.
The dramatic finish to the game sums up New Zealand’s Test season in 2022 and underlined that despite coming into the game on a winning streak, the All Blacks have a lot to work on.
A game that should have been won
Foster was hugely disappointed with the final 10 minutes, as his team should have closed out the game relatively easily.
“We will probably have two press conferences, one for the first 70 minutes and another for the next 10,” said Foster.
“It was a game of drama and to come away with a 25-all draw is something we are pretty disappointed with. That first 70, to me we really played the sort of rugby we want to get to.
“We had a great tour and we were pretty determined to come to this game against an England team that was very physical against us three years ago and we struggled to control the game against them. I thought tonight we did that really well and put ourselves into a position where we should have been a little bit better, but credit to England for the way they came back.
“That card (to Barrett) sort of galvanised them and their performance in the last ten is worthy of a lot of credit. 25-all to finish the year, whilst it is frustrating there were large parts of that performance I was particularly proud of and it shows a lot of the progress we made in the second half of the year.”
The coach explained that England used their numerical advantage very well to trigger their comeback. Despite losing, Foster believes his team is trending in the right direction.
“We went down one clearly and we will probably have to pull it apart and have a look, but clearly they started to bend us,” he said. “Once we went down to 14 they went wide-wide and we weren’t able to stop them.
“It’s probably the type of ball that they were trying to get from the start of the game and couldn’t quite get it, but they certainly got it at the end. It is a good growth point for us. We need to make sure we nail that and again. It’s disappointing but they did what they had to do well and we couldn’t stop them in that last part.
“At the end of the day, it is a draw. We played some great rugby and in our mind, we should have walked away with a win and we didn’t get it in that last 10. Upon reflection you can tell from us we are a little bit flat, but I love the way we played for large parts of that game and showed some of the things that we have been making good gains in.
“We are moving well, but it shows we’re not quite there yet and in some ways, it is not a bad spot to be 10 months out (for the World Cup).”
Look for the answers
All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock agreed with his coach’s sentiment in that he was upset to concede so many points late on and will look for answers in the review.
“To go from a few points up to all of a sudden start leaking was not nice,” he said.
“The boys were definitely trying out there and you can never fault the effort… but as Ian said, we have got to pull it apart and look at why that happened and come up with a few solutions because we didn’t out there and that is why we came out with a 25-all draw.”