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All Blacks vow to learn from Ireland upset

China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-15 09:22
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Caelan Doris (left) celebrates scoring Ireland's third try with Jack Conan in Saturday's 29-20 win over New Zealand. [Photo/Agencies]

DUBLIN-New Zealand's 29-20 defeat by Ireland on Saturday will serve as a wake-up call to those players experiencing a northern hemisphere tour for the first time, All Blacks coach Ian Foster said.

The loss to a dominant Irish side in Dublin on Saturday was only New Zealand's second of the year after it was beaten 31-29 by World Cup holder South Africa in October.

The Irish couldn't beat New Zealand for 111 years. Now they have three wins in five years.

The visitor came up short in its first really challenging Test on the tour-it had beaten an understrength Wales side and breezed past the United States and Italy.

Foster said the defeat will teach those on their maiden tour of the northern hemisphere that top European sides play a high-pressure game.

"For a number of the players that haven't been in a big Test up here, they have learned how it's very different," said Foster at his post-match news conference.

"It's a very high-pressure game. You've got to deal with it at the top end; you've got to be disciplined.

"I think there was a little bit of frustration not getting the ball and then we started to concede some penalties as a result of that."

The 56-year-old will hope that lesson has been absorbed ahead of Saturday's final Test against a talented French side.

Foster-who was appointed head coach after Steve Hansen left following the 2019 World Cup-added a more patient approach would better serve New Zealand.

"Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves, suck it up and fight your way back into the game," he said.

"Ireland play a high-retention game and by doing that, they put our system under pressure."

Scrum-half TJ Perenara said the key to the Dublin defeat was possession, even though the All Blacks led 10-5 at the interval having had little of the ball. Reflective of that was New Zealand's 150-plus tackles in the first period compared to less than 40 for Ireland.

"It was not exactly how we wanted to play the game or had mapped it out, but we took confidence that we were leading despite that," said Perenara." As for what we learn, well straight off the bat from me is it is pretty hard to stop us scoring when we have the ball. So the easiest way to stop us is to hold the ball yourself.

"Other teams who come up against us will look at how Ireland dealt with that and how they built phases and say, 'Man, if we can take the ball away from the ABs, the harder it is for them to win games'."

Captain Sam Whitelock agreed with Perenara that a more expansive approach was required.

"It is hard to win Test matches camped in your 22 and making tackles," the 33-year-old two-time World Cup winner said.

"It is something for us to look at-in these high-pressure games you cannot absorb pressure the whole time, you have to exert some yourself."

Hooker Codie Taylor-whose sin-binning for two late hits on Johnny Sexton led to Ireland's first try-said the game had been a "hell of an arm wrestle".

"I thought we kicked well at times but put ourselves under pressure on a couple of occasions when we tried to take it out of our half," said Taylor, who redeemed himself somewhat with a first-half try.

"It makes it pretty tough when the side you are playing is good at holding onto the ball.

"Discipline goes a long way too if they are taking away threes (points for penalties) when you are defending in your own half."


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