"They were pretty polished" - Ian Foster on Ireland's performance

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That was coach Ian Foster's view in the wake of a stunning performance of accuracy and intent from the Irish.


"That was a very good performance from Ireland, probably the best I have come up against in my time. They were pretty polished," he said.


Foster said they played well and held the ball for long periods. The All Blacks had done well with their defence to frustrate a lot of Ireland's efforts.


When they did get chances, the All Blacks scored two nice tries, but Ireland's high-tempo kept New Zealand chasing. When it mattered, at the end, they lacked the composure to take advantage of the opportunity presented, and Ireland turned the pressure back.


"They played hide-the-ball pretty well in that first 40," he said. But the All Blacks' defence stood up well and, while they were a bit battered at the turn, they were in a good position with a 10-5 lead.


"I don't think energy or tackles was the difference in the game, I think it was the ability to take your opportunity when it got presented, and when you're playing a real, quality team then you have to do that," he said.



Foster said the occasion had exposed many younger players to the intensity of a northern hemisphere Test. The pressure applied was different, while there was a need to be at the 'top end' of discipline.


Conceding penalties had the effect of feeding the opposition's game.


That had occurred as frustration mounted, and Ireland took advantage of it.


Ireland showed more ambition by moving the ball wide, and in counterattack.


Captain Sam Whitelock said it felt when they got possession, and controlled it, they were able to make inroads.


"But we just needed more of the ball. It's hard to win Test matches when you're camped in your own 22 making a whole lot of tackles, so that's something we'll be having a look at and something we need to get better at," he said.


Whitelock said their problem solving felt correct on the field.


"It's something we've got to make sure is solution-focused rather than problem-focused. That's something we've been pretty good at traditionally and I thought we were pretty good there," he said.




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