Breakdown not the only area of focus - Foster

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Coach Ian Foster said there was a danger of getting into a retaining-the-ball mode as they sought improvement. But they still wanted to attack, and it was about getting the balance right and not going into their shells.

 

"I'd love to see a continuation of what we're doing through our forwards and our set-piece because I reckon that's going pretty good at the moment in many aspects," he said.

 

There could also be a slight improvement with some of their running lines, particularly on counterattack stuff which he felt had been a little lateral, he said.

 

Foster said the issue at the breakdown was not only about the physical side. It also involved the strategy side, which was part of the All Blacks growing their game.

 

"Overall we got some nice lessons there, we won lots of turnovers as well so it went both ways. I think the main focus has probably been on the ball carrier," he said.

 

 

Any hesitancy in carrying the ball made it hard for the next part of the play.

 

But the All Blacks had shown when they got it right they could put points together quickly.

 

Foster was happy with the way things were developing with his first five-eighths' Richie Mo'unga, who will start on Saturday and Beauden Barrett, who will come off the bench. The coaches were attempting to grow the pair's understanding of how they wanted the All Blacks to play.

 

"I'd give Richie the points based on the first two games, but, to be fair, we always expected that.

 

"I thought Beaudy made a lot of really good decisions [last week]. I thought his instincts were probably a fraction off, and that's why we're keen to keep playing him and give him more and more time. I was impressed with a lot of his game management in that game and to me he's not far off where we need him to be."

 

Foster said the selectors were looking to build their game to the way they wanted it to be while also growing combinations. They were also managing the workload of players who had been out of the game for a while, and lock Brodie Retallick was an example.

"He had a big workload last week so it is a chance to use him differently and we feel a bit the same with Beaudy. He's had a couple of big head knocks so it's a chance to move a few people round."

 

Ardie Savea will start on the openside flank. Foster said the continuing unavailability of Sam Cane meant it was a chance to freshen Savea's instincts in that role. Foster confirmed that Cane was most likely to be unavailable during the Rugby Championship, and if he was close to returning, it was likely to be through playing in the Bunnings Cup.

 

Foster said he was impressed with David Havili's composure at second five-eighths, and he was worth another chance, while Anton Lienert-Brown's recovery from injury made it a simple decision to include him this week.

 

He added they were pleased with how Quinn Tupaea and Rieko Ioane had played in the midfield and provided some options for the future.

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