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All Blacks confident with scrum technique

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Lynn McConnell     14 Jun 2017     Getty Images

Touring media had been quick to claim the differences were a result of softened attitudes to scrums by referees in Investec Super Rugby.

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But Foster's retort was that he didn't understand what the issue was. The All Blacks had French referees in previous games and there had never been a problem.

"We're scrummaging the way that we've been scrummaging and we've got to adapt and adjust to whatever happens on the park so it's more about us making sure we are adapting to interpretations. But in terms of legality, and all that, we've got no concerns," he said.

The first week together was busy as usual for the side and was aimed at putting detail in the team so that all were aware of what they were trying to do.

"We're still not trying to put too much out in front of them right now but we're trying to get the right balance so everyone knows how we're going to play. In a short week you don't have quite the amount of time to test it under massive pressure but that'll come Friday," he said.

The Samoan Test is an appetiser for the Lions series to follow but Foster was happy that attention was in focus even with the knowledge the Lions were coming.

"Our thinking is the best way to prepare for a battle is to have a battle and we're playing Samoa at Eden Park. There's a big Samoan community here and it's going to be a very significant game.
"The last time we played them they pushed us right to the wire in Apia and we know they've got a couple of very significant World Cup qualifying games just around the corner. Rest assured this will be a full on battle and I think that's the best way to prepare," he said.

Dealing with the Lions defensive speed was something the players were exposed to more regularly now in Super Rugby and Samoa would also bring the same approach on Friday. It was just part of the game now, he said.

"It's got its own new set of challenges and we've got to make sure we become masters at it," he said.

Foster said while hooker Dane Coles wasn't doing any contact work with the side, he was working with the medicos on his own things and they were delighted with his progress. First five-eighths Aaron Cruden was straight-line running and it was hoped that by the weekend he would be able to handle changes in direction after his knee ligament injury.

The experience Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea had at No.8 in Super Rugby had been positive for him and while flanker might be his preferred position he had taken confidence from his exposure at No.8 and it was another string to his bow and for the All Blacks because his versatility offered the selectors some good choices, Foster said.