Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

All Blacks: Foster demands more from his men

Assistant coach Ian Foster looks on during an All Blacks training session. Photo / Getty Images
Assistant coach Ian Foster looks on during an All Blacks training session. Photo / Getty Images

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster is promising more from his men this week as the world champions look to heap further misery on Ireland in Christchurch.

This Saturday night's test will serve as an opportunity for the All Blacks to lock up an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series following a dominant 42-10 victory at Eden Park during the weekend.

The home side will also have the services of Kieran Read after the Crusaders No 8 was cleared of any lingering ailments from the first test. However Victor Vito is under an injury cloud with a knee complaint and more would be known on his status today.

Foster spoke to the media in Christchurch yesterday and said despite their promising start to the 2012 campaign during the weekend, the All Blacks could provide more.

"I think if you put the scoreboard to one side, 'can we get better?' The Answer is yes.

It doesn't always equate to more points but we are certainly chasing a lot of improvement in a lot of areas of the game and I think it was obvious in the last week that in patches we looked a little bit messy and not as clinical as we should be and that's really our goal."

Foster said he thought the All Blacks lacked structure in parts on the counter-attack and hoped they could tidy their act up in that area of the game, while also playing with a higher degree of accuracy.

"That's primarily what we want to do. Right now, we're just focusing on preparing well. We've got to get into some really good habits in these three weeks as a team.

"We've got to make sure our preparation and process about how to get a better performance each week are done well. That's just become our main focus."

The weather may stifle the All Blacks' ability to bring their rampant running game to the fore this weekend though, with long-range forecasts suggesting single-figure temperatures and plenty of rain. There could be more snow on the way this week too.

Hurricanes wing Julian Savea might spend more of the 80 minutes chasing punts from the boot of Dan Carter rather than dotting down for more test tries after he opened his international account on the weekend with a hat-trick in his first test.

Foster said the weather would play a part in their thinking ahead of the game.

"We don't know what to expect this week. There's interesting forecasts around so we've got to be prepared for everything at this time of year. [There could be] a bit more kick-chase perhaps. But I guess we'll worry about that later in the week."

Poor weather could make for a war of attrition, particularly in the forwards where the Irish showed during the weekend that they have the ability to slow the ball down by flooding the breakdown.

The All Blacks management won't name their starting side until Thursday but it doesn't look like there will be sweeping changes.

"It's possible, but the reality is we want to go out and build some combinations and get learnings from last week," Foster said.

- APNZ

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