New Zealand coach Ian Foster admits he has “no idea” if Saturday’s excellent 35-23 Rugby Championship victory over South Africa will be enough to save his job, but believes there is more to come from his team.
The All Blacks had lost five of their last six tests going into the contest at a raucous Ellis Park, including a biggest defeat by the Springboks in 94 years the week before as they lost 26-10 in Nelspruit.
But there was much more edge to the team second time round, as they showed greater desire to match the physicality of the home side and were vastly improved in the scrum and breakdown, which allowed them to unleash their dangerous backs.
“I’ve got no idea. I’m just going to enjoy tonight,” Foster told Sky Sports when asked about his future. “There’s no doubt it’s been a pretty stressful time. We’ve been trying to find our feet as a team.
“The stress has been good for me, I think I lost one kilogram over the last week, so a couple more weeks I’ll be in good shape,” he said with a smile.
“We worked hard. It’s never easy when you’re coming off a couple of losses, but I’m just so proud of the effort. It swings in roundabouts, but we hung in and finished strong.
“I know I got mocked for saying it after a loss, but we made a big shift through our forward pack last week.
“The work (assistant coach) Jason Ryan’s done there was strong, and I felt we were creating a few opportunities. We wanted it so much, we were rushing things, while today we were just more patient.”
It was the All Blacks’ ability to cope with the home side’s powerful forwards that proved the difference.
“The likes of (props) Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax, I thought they scrummed really strong,” Foster said
One contentious selection call was to drop flyhalf Beauden Barrett to the bench and replace him with Richie Mo’unga.
“I thought Richie really played well and he brought a lot of belief. A lot of positives things … (there’s) more to come.”
Whether Foster will still be coach when the All Blacks host Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Aug. 27 is likely to be decided this week.