Ireland will have gained hope in defeat, says All Blacks’ Foster

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New Zealand coach Ian Foster expects Ireland to have gained confidence ahead of their second test against the All Blacks in Dunedin next week despite losing the opener of their three-match series in Auckland on Saturday.

Foster’s side secured a hard-fought 42-19 victory in their Eden Park stronghold after falling behind to an early Keith Earl’s try while the All Blacks were forced to endure sustained periods of intense Irish pressure on their tryline.

The pair will face off again on Saturday before a concluding third test in Wellington on July 16 and Foster believes Ireland coach Andy Farrell and his team will be buoyed by aspects of their performance in Auckland.

“They will have had enough glimpses of good moments in that first quarter and particularly in the third quarter and even in the way they finished to walk away with a bit of hope I would’ve thought,” said Foster.

“Whilst I thought we were really ruthless when we scored points, we were put under a lot of pressure and I thought, particularly defensively, I would’ve just given us a pass mark.

“I thought our goal line stuff was excellent but we really did allow too many opportunities for them to get in behind us.

“They’ll be pleased with that. So I think they’ll work hard on their phase play.”

New Zealand had lost three of their last five meetings against Ireland going into Saturday’s test. Foster has also been under growing pressure after the All Blacks were defeated in back-to-back games to close out their 2021 season.

But their six-try win over the Irish, which extended the All Blacks’ unbeaten run at Eden Park to 47 tests in 28 years, left the head coach largely satisfied.

“Good to have a good win under your belt, there’s always a little bit of the unknown, but (I) stated beforehand, this series was really big for us,” he said.

“I think when you look at the bigger picture, the chance to play a team we’ve got massive respect for and we know is doing really well the last couple of years and to bring them down here for three in a row is pretty special.”

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