New Zealand must face the Bok Challenge head-on, says Foster

NELSPRUIT, South Africa : New Zealand manager Ian Foster has urged his side to “go manly” in their first Test in South Africa since 2018, the Rugby Championship opener in Nelspruit on Saturday in an attempt to put a horror run behind them “. form.

The ailing All Blacks have lost four of their last five Tests to threaten Foster’s position after his two assistant coaches, John Plumtree and Brad Mooar, were axed following last month’s historic 2-1 home loss to Ireland.

Foster claims he can turn the tide of the side, starting with two Tests at the Springboks in Rugby Championship, the second of which will be in Johannesburg on August 13.

“It’s about the team making man because the Boks aren’t one-trick ponies. That’s a fallacy,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“What they do well, they do really well. You won’t become a world champion if you don’t master many things.

“We have to come out with the attitude that we want to play our game. There’s an advantage and we know we can play better. We’re going to be men, we need to be smart and physical, but we need a good combination of both.”

Foster has largely remained loyal to the side that lost the third Test to Ireland, although there is a return after two years for winger Caleb Clarke to replace Sevu Reece and a new front line supporting Angus Ta’avao and George Bower plus includes Hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho.

South Africa haven’t been at their best this season either, failing to impress in their recent 2-1 home win over Wales.

But they’ve stuck to what they do best and will look to be physically dominant against the All Blacks, using their set pieces to secure points and testing the visitors with a territorial kick play under high ball.

Bok coach Nienaber said that while the All Blacks were at rock bottom, he didn’t believe in the idea of ​​his side being heavy favorites.

“You have to be realistic and we know it’s New Zealand and it’s going to be a tough friendly,” said Nienaber. “It’s not a team you beat often.”

Nienaber has some understanding of Foster’s plight and said expectations will always be high across both teams.

“When you’re a coach … you’re always two bad games away from being fired,” he added.