All Blacks worried Springboks could have ‘opened the door’ for Rugby World Cup rivals

Colin Newboult

All Blacks in a huddle during defeat to the Springboks in Rugby World Cup warm-up.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster is looking to make sure they don’t see a repeat of their Springboks defeat during the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks begin their campaign with a difficult match against hosts France in Paris on Friday.

It comes two weeks after they were embarrassed by South Africa as they went down to a 35-7 loss in their final warm-up match at Twickenham.

Ahead of this weekend’s World Cup opener, Foster was asked about that reversal and what the team had taken from it.

Learning the lessons

“It was a beautiful day out there, I woke up really happy this morning, went for a lovely walk and now you’ve asked me about that again,” he joked.

“The lessons are pretty simple, to be honest. I don’t think there’s anything there that we don’t really know, we’ve just got to get better and better.

“But certainly, it’s opened the door for others to come and try to exploit that and we’ve got to make sure we respond.”

Foster outlined specifically what they need to do during the global tournament, with discipline highest on the list following Scott Barrett’s two yellow cards.

New Zealand were 14-0 in arrears when Barrett received his marching orders just before half-time and they shipped three more tries in the second period.

Left vulnerable

“First lesson: Have 15 men on the field. When you lose an experienced guy who has been your power player and you lose him from your pack then you do become very vulnerable,” the All Blacks head coach added.

“That’s one key lesson and it’s going to be one key lesson going into the World Cup that we all know but we’ve just got to make sure that we really work hard on the discipline side of our game to keep it 15 on 15. If we’ve got 15 on 15 I’m very confident in that space.

“What we had to do was we had to adapt to a strategy. We had Josh Lord come on, we had Tamaiti Williams, we had Fletcher Newell; Fletcher hasn’t played much rugby this year, Tamaiti’s only played a couple of Test matches and there’s some massive learning going on there.

“The speed in which you have to react against a very experienced Springbok team, and they utilised their front and their back particularly well. They only had one lineout maul go through us, so they were smart and they were smart against a team with a red card.”

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