Bring On the Ireland series - says All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster

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Foster said on the All Blacks Podcast powered by SAP that he’s looking forward to the Ireland series because the All Blacks were still hurting from their last two Tests in 2021.


"The Irish series is going to be vital. We're still hurting from the last two (Tests) last year," he said.


"Those last two hurt, and so we've got to take those lessons. We can go straight into it.


"We know we've got an Irish team that is largely based around Leinster. They've got a lot of cohesion in that team, and they'll be coming really prepared. 


"So, I think when you look at our Steinlager Series now, we've got a series with some real meat in it," he said.

Then there were two Tests away in South Africa which meant the All Blacks would have tough teams to try things against.


"We don't have to wait until the end of the year to try some things out, and that shortens our time to learn before the World Cup. So, we are going to get some real lessons early."


The season would be about building the combinations and getting more consistency in selections, he said.


Foster was also excited about playing Test matches in New Zealand again because over the last two years they had been an away side, and he was looking forward to reconnecting with fans at home.


Foster said one of the lessons of his first two years in the head coach role, during the Covid pandemic, was the need to understand his players, and their needs, and any stresses they may be having off the park.


He’s also loved the challenge of “bringing some fresh ideas to the side.’

"If I'd just been the same going from one seat to the other I don't think that would have been very successful. So, my leadership style, and how I go about things, I made a conscious effort to spend a lot of time defining that and what I felt I needed to do," he said.


It was a case of determining what type of leadership style the group, both players and management, needed.


"After 2019, we still were doing a lot of things right, but there were some things that needed freshening, so they actually needed me to get a little but hard-nosed and force some change in some areas.


"And there's other things that we needed to enhance because we were doing really well and we needed to keep growing. I ended up changing a few things with myself," he said.


The All Blacks play three Tests against Ireland in the Steinlager Series on July 2, 9 and 16. Get your tickets HERE.



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