New Zealand coach Ian Foster wants his side to complete grand slam after claiming title

Jordie Barrett’s late penalty sealed a sixth consecutive win for the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship

New Zealand captain Ardie Savea celebrates winning Freedom Cup with teammates after the Rugby Championship match against South Africa in Townsville on Saturday. Photograph: Patrick Hamilton/AFP via Getty Images

New Zealand captain Ardie Savea celebrates winning Freedom Cup with teammates after the Rugby Championship match against South Africa in Townsville on Saturday. Photograph: Patrick Hamilton/AFP via Getty Images

 

Coach Ian Foster wants his All Blacks to focus on claiming their own grand slam next weekend when they face South Africa looking for a clean sweep in the Rugby Championship after handing the world champions a narrow loss in Townsville on Saturday.

Jordie Barrett’s late penalty earned Foster’s side a 19-17 victory over the Springboks that ensured the New Zealanders reclaimed the Rugby Championship trophy with a fifth win in a row in the southern hemisphere competition.

The two teams meet again next week on the Gold Coast to close out this year’s competition and Foster is setting his sights on a statement-making sixth consecutive win.

“Quite frankly, you go up to the Six Nations and if they win five games they celebrate it as a Grand Slam, and we’ve got that chance now in the Rugby Championship to have a grand slam opportunity next week,” said Foster.

“For this group to actually put themselves in that position is massive credit to [captain] Ardie [Savea] and the men for the way they’re gelling together and working hard.

“We know to achieve what we want to next week and get that grand slam we’re going to have to lift a couple of cogs from tonight.”

The All Blacks have dominated this year’s Rugby Championship despite not being at full strength, with Savea serving as stand-in captain in the absence of Sam Whitelock while Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga have also been sidelined.

Foster, though, believes his team are continuing to improve.

“We are making strides on the physical side of the game and we are making some strides in our ability to deal with set-piece pressure and how we go about it,” he said.

“Clearly we’re not the finished product yet, we know that. But I love the way we stayed in the fight and we problem solved and muscled up.

“We made that game a massive contest and an arm wrestle type of game that probably wasn’t the game we wanted to have.”

Foster praised the performance of Barrett, who slotted over the winning kick with three minutes remaining as the All Blacks won the 100th meeting between the two nations.

“We knew it was a big game and there’s a whole lot of reasons why it was big: the hundredth and the history of this competition between us,” he said.

“They’re a team we respect greatly and we’ve had a bit of the edge over them recently, but you saw how fine the margins are for us to deliver.

“Hats off to Jordie for that last kick. It was a tough kick.”

Dave Rennie, meanwhile has called on his Australia side to be more ruthless, despite seeing the Wallabies notch up a third win in a row with a 27-8 victory over Argentina in Townsville on Saturday night.

The win against Mario Ledesma’s Pumas came after successive victories over world champions South Africa, but Rennie was not satisfied with his team’s performance.

“We’re obviously happy to win and we worked really hard in the first half to put ourselves in a strong position,” he said.

But there is “probably a bit of frustration from us that we had a lot of opportunities late to put them out of the game. We didn’t do the obvious, we’ve just to throw one more pass.

“There’s a bit of frustration around that, but we worked hard, we sustained a lot of pressure 20 minutes after half-time so mixed emotions. Happy to win, but we need to be better.”

Tries from Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi and Andrew Kellaway earned the Wallabies a win that moves them into second place in the standings, ahead of the South Africans.

Another victory over Argentina in next weekend’s final round of matches in the competition will confirm a runners-up finish behind New Zealand, although Rennie will be without the services of Marika Koroibete.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.