‘It hurt’: All Blacks assistant Ian Foster hasn’t forgotten pain of Wallabies loss

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All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster doesn’t see much time at No 13 for Jordie Barrett after his struggles at centre.

Ten months have passed since Reece Hodge smacked the All Blacks where it hurts most – on the scoreboard.

With two minutes remaining in the test in Brisbane last October, Wallabies wing Hodge hoofed a 53m penalty off a soggy Suncorp Stadium pitch to give his side a crucial buffer and earn a shock 23-18 win over the All Blacks.

“I try to move on, but it is still there,” assistant coach Ian Foster said in reference to the painful memory of the All Blacks’ most recent defeat.

“It hurt because, largely, from our side of the coin it was a really poor test and we didn’t have that edge we needed to have and they did.”

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Afterwards the All Blacks looked in the mirror and pointed some fingers, apportioning much of the blame at the faces staring back.

Assistant coach Ian Foster believes the Wallabies might alter their defensive patterns against the All Blacks after ...

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Assistant coach Ian Foster believes the Wallabies might alter their defensive patterns against the All Blacks after Ireland narrowed their attack in the June series in Australia.

Despite the game being a dead rubber, with the Bledisloe Cup already in NZ Rugby’s possession, the Wallabies expressed their relief at breaking a 26-month drought against the Kiwis by morphing into group hugs accompanied by loud hollering. All the All Blacks could do was suck it up.

“And we saw that after the game, how much it meant to them,” Foster added. “Which doesn’t really surprise us, but it still hurts.”

It’s quite possible the All Blacks players will be reminded of that post-match reaction as they prepare for Bledisloe I in Sydney next weekend.

The All Blacks have gathered in Christchurch to prepare for the “Game of Three Halves”, which will comprise a hit-out against Canterbury and Otago at AMI Stadium on Friday night.

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All Blacks assistant Ian Foster says while he sees Richie Mo’unga as a first-five, he has the skills for fullback.

It is still undecided which Crusaders, if any, will participate after only joining the team on Thursday following their Super Rugby title celebrations.

“There will be some things we will put out there, with an eye to Sydney,” Foster added. “Just to see what they look like, and I guess there are a couple of combinations we will try but I would rather not document that at the moment.”

Given what took place in Brisbane, the All Blacks won’t be lackadaisical with their preparations prior to flying to Sydney on Sunday afternoon.

Wallabies flyer Israel Folau goes on the charge during last year's Bledisloe test at Suncorp Stadium.

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Wallabies flyer Israel Folau goes on the charge during last year’s Bledisloe test at Suncorp Stadium.

Although the Crusaders will still be on a high after defending their title, and possibly feeling a little worse for wear after the celebrations, Foster expected a professional attitude when they returned to test duty.

Earlier this week All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said dropping the Western Force from Super Rugby had forced more competition for places among the surviving four Aussie teams, emphasising that would be a positive for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Six Nations champions Ireland beat the Wallabies 2-1 in the June test series in Australia, with Foster impressed by both countries’ ferocity in all areas. The Wallabies were bitterly disappointed to let the series slip after winning first test 18-9 in Brisbane.

The Wallabies players celebrate victory after their 23-18 win over the All Blacks in Brisbane last October.

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The Wallabies players celebrate victory after their 23-18 win over the All Blacks in Brisbane last October.

“It was a game that Ireland probably tried to take them a lot through close-quarters stuff. And really tried to hammer away. Australia were probably willing to play with a bit more width and, really, when you look at the series it could have gone either way.”

However Foster was cautious about taking too much out of Ireland’s series win, given their confrontational style with the ball and their preference to be conservative with their attacking methods.

“You have to be a little bit careful with that, because Australia defended a little bit different knowing they were playing Ireland and perhaps how they will defend against us.”

 – Stuff

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