All Blacks can't afford to lower focus in remaining pool games

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With 10 days before meeting Canada, on Wednesday next week, the squad would be reminded they needed to retain focus.

 

Assistant coach Ian Foster told media in Japan on Monday, "We've got three more opportunities to hone our game and get to the point we need it to be at. Going into this Canada-Namibia phase we have two opportunities in those two games to really grow confidence in some parts of our game we're still not quite right with.

 

"The World Cup is about living your standards daily. The minute that we think we've had one good game and made it then we're going to get smacked. The only way to progress further at this tournament is if we keep trying to meet our own expectations on a daily basis. That's where the pressure comes.

 

"There will certainly be no loosening of the reins over the next 10 days," he said.

 

At the same time there was delight with the way the All Blacks handled the intensity of the Springboks game.

 

"We all knew how big this game was but we went in and still wanted to play some rugby. You've got to be true to yourself when you're on a rugby park regardless of the intensity of the game," Foster said.

 

"That was probably the part we enjoyed the most. It was far from perfect and we all know that but when the intention is there and the desire to play and to look for stuff and to back yourself then we've got to make sure, we've got to gamble that we will get more right than wrong," he said.

 

"South Africa did a good job of making it hard for us to do what we wanted early. They obviously targeted our set piece and did whatever they could to deny us front-foot ball. It's hard to get momentum against them.

 

"We've got to be better. It's easy to get excited with the result but if you dig underneath that we certainly lost quite a few moments. It was far from perfect and we all know that.

 

"But when the intention and desire to back yourself is there, you've got to gamble you're going to get more right than wrong. We won that ledger but we've got to get better and better.

 

There were several areas that would be worked on during the coming weeks.

 

"Being able to control our ball better from set piece to the first couple of phases. It's something South Africa did pretty well against us," he said.

 

"It's that constant decision-making with how we want to play versus the decisions of the individuals. We threw a lot of ball away that put us in compromised positions a little bit. We don't want to squash that because we got some reward out of it as well.

 

"That's that fine line round how to grow decision-making of our ball carriers and it's probably the area we'll spend the most time working on," he said.

 

"It's good to have a balance with guys who have been there and know what it's all about and sheer enthusiasm and lack of fear that comes with guys there for the first time. The key is that we don't over-stifle them and just let them express what they do while keep chipping away at their understanding of how they play," he said.

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