All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has flicked the switch on the side's approach to playing mind games ahead of this weekend's clash against Ireland, with Bundee Aki taking the brunt of it.

After toiling away for Counties-Manukau and the Chiefs, the Auckland-born midfielder left Kiwi shores to take up an offer with Irish club Connacht in 2014.

He made a strong impression with the club and in 2017 made his international debut for Ireland - qualifying on residency.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's clash, the Irish Independent reported Foster had a not so subtle dig at the former Chiefs player.

Advertisement

"He had a few years in the Chiefs, played really, really well. But he's been over here a while now," Foster said. "I mean you have moulded him into an Irish man. He looks like an Irishman now doesn't he?

"There will be a couple of our guys who have probably played with him and know him personally but we are kind of getting used to that."

The Independent also reported Foster took a shot at Irish No.10 Johnny Sexton's approach to referees. Sexton said earlier in the week he wanted his side to remain disciplined and stay on the right side referee Wayne Barnes and Foster appeared to suggest he was trying to influence the English official.

"I'm not sure why he says that, Barnsey is a great ref," Foster said. "Johnny seems to give them (referees) a bit of advice on the park too so I'm sure he will carry on doing that."