‘Calm down’, All Blacks coach not panicking despite Springboks spanking

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Coach Ian Foster said the All Blacks were not panicking ahead of the World Cup despite being thrashed 35-7 by the world champion Springboks in their final warm-up at Twickenham.

New Zealand lost Scott Barrett to a red card and shipped five tries on their way to their heaviest defeat in 102 years of playing test rugby on Friday, setting off alarm bells back home.

Foster said there were some mitigating circumstances due to the necessity of giving certain players game time, and although the All Blacks looked “rusty” he urged his notoriously skittish compatriots to keep their cool.

“We’re confident. It didn’t look like that, and I know we got a good spanking, so I’m not hiding from that fact. We’re not panicking about that result,” Foster told the All Blacks website.

“We knew we were going to get challenged. It’s not the result we wanted. I still believe in the plan.

“I still believe the group that needed to play played. Scott, not as long as I would’ve liked.”

The All Blacks were bullied up front at times by the hulking South African forwards and their discipline faltered when they were put under pressure with skipper Sam Cane also sin-binned.

Foster said he expected hosts France to similarly try to target the All Blacks pack during their World Cup opener at Stade de France on Sept. 8.

“We’ve now got a good litmus test of where we’re at. Everyone is in the same boat after this weekend,” he added.

“We’ve got to use our camp in Germany really smart and go into France and get stuck into what’s going to be an exciting World Cup.

“There was a lot of emotion in the sheds afterwards, but we’ve just got to calm down and say, ‘that’s World Cups’. If you’re looking for a dress rehearsal that’s perfect.”

The three times World Cup winners also face Italy, Uruguay and Namibia in Pool A at the Sept. 8-Oct. 28 showpiece.