All Blacks coach Foster goads his charges to man up: 'The Boks are not one-trick ponies'

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  • All Blacks coach Ian Foster admitted they have to man up physically for the challenge that will come from the Springboks.
  • The sides meet in Mbombela for the 102nd time, but it's going to be their first clash on South African shores since 2018.
  • Foster said there were facets of their game they were still working on that didn't quite work out in the 2-1 series loss to Ireland.

In Mbombela

All Blacks coach Ian Foster admitted they don't just have to man up, but need to do so smartly for their Rugby Championship clash against the Springboks in Mbombela on Saturday.

The All Blacks, who haven't lost to the Springboks in South Africa since 2014, go into the game on the back of four losses in five Tests.

That rare return has placed them under a different sort of pressure they hardly experience and Foster made nine changes to the matchday 23 beaten by Ireland last month.

READ | Winger Caleb Clarke plays first Test since 2020 as All Blacks ring changes for Springboks

Foster said the Boks are far from one-trick ponies, but as the All Blacks, they also need to tighten up their game.

"It's about the team manning up because the Boks are not one-trick ponies. That's a fallacy," Foster said.

"What they do well, they do really well. You don't become the world champions if you're not proficient at a whole lot of things.

"They're a great team and they play well, but it's also about us not getting too hung up on that either.

"We have to go in with the mindset of wanting to play our game. There's an edge and we know we can play better.

"However, we can't do that by worrying about the opposition. We have to be excited and hone in on how we want to play.

"We'll man up, but we need to be smart and physical, but we'll need a good combination of both."


South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Willie le Roux

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 1 George Bower

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Quinn Tupaea

Foster admitted that there was some tightening up from some facets of their game that they need to fix for the two Bok Tests.

The All Blacks were unusually stale on attack and were failed by their set-pieces in their landmark 2-1 series loss to the Irish.

The forwards' inefficiency led to John Plumtree being sacked while Brad Mooar paid the price for the back division's unexpectedly poor showing.

Foster, a former back with Waikato and the Chiefs, said there were areas of their game they are still working on.

"Much has been made of the last series and we're putting the building blocks in place in that series. Did we get everything right? No, we didn't," Foster said.

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"We still have a lot of faith in the areas where we want to grow our game. There are tweaks in the attacks that we're working on, with some of them highlighting some of the focus points of our game that we didn't get right.

"It's not a matter of bringing in 10 new things, it's about bringing a couple in and honing two or three things that we wanted to do, but didn't do well."

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