All Blacks coach dismisses criticism over Tonga’s lopsided result
Posted On July 4, 2021
New Zealand coach Ian Foster has dismissed any suggestion of an unwarranted mismatch after the All Blacks scored a century of points on an unfortunate Tonga, saying Saturday’s test was not about scoring.
The All Blacks scored 16 tries, including five at Will Jordan, against the Pacific Islanders with a 102-0 result that drew criticism in local media.
Marc Hinton, writing for the Stuff website, called it a “disagreement of epic proportions” while Radio New Zealand’s Jamie Wall described it as nothing more than “a glorified training race” for the All. Blacks.
New Zealand Herald rugby writer Liam Napier said the lopsided clash “had been of no use to anyone” and that paying spectators were “sold a dud”.
In rugby-mad New Zealand, where tests are usually sold out well in advance, fans sensed that a non-competitive meeting was the order of the day.
The 30,000-seat Mt Smart stadium was only half full and those who showed up reserved their biggest applause for the underdogs, prompting Tongan coach Toutai Kefu to joke that they were “taking action. as if we had won “.
All Blacks coach Foster has said he accepts the score will draw criticism, but what he wanted – and his team did – was a positive start to a busy year in which his goal is to bring South Africa to the top of the world rankings.
“Overall very happy with the level of skill and form we put on the park. You can get a lot out of it,” Foster said, summing up the game.
He was particularly impressed with how the All Blacks – who led 38-0 after 19 minutes and lost the boil just before half-time – refocused to score 10 tries in the final 45 minutes.
“It took discipline and we’re probably getting a pat on the back for it,” he said.
“I would like to think that we are not going to just focus on the score and say it was a game that should not have happened.”
“For the Tongan people it was an important game,” he said, referring to Tonga needing a warm-up match before playing Samoa next weekend in the first of two. World Cup qualifying matches.
“It was just as important for us to go out there and start what could be a long year.”
The All Blacks have two more soft games, against Fiji, before facing Australia in the hotly contested Bledisloe Cup series – followed by the Rugby Championship, which also involves Argentina and champion South Africa. title world.
At the end of the year, they travel to Europe for a maximum of four matches with tests against France and Ireland already scheduled.