All Blacks: Ian Foster claims there is ‘extra excitement’ in the camp ahead of England Test

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster revealed there is “extra excitement” in his squad ahead of their intriguing Test against England at Twickenham this weekend.

Foster’s men come off a hard-fought 31-23 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, meaning they have won all of their games on their northern hemisphere tour.

However, the All Blacks, who started the year poorly, will have a chance to gauge where they are at with the England Test, remembering that Eddie Jones’s men ended their World Cup dreams in the semi-final of the 2019 edition.

Clean bill of health

Foster was delighted not to have injuries within his squad and emphasised that his team are excited for the massive Test.

“There is extra excitement,” Foster said. “Playing at Twickenham is always a special occasion, and particularly the way we came through yesterday’s game. It was a tough test and to come through with the win means we’re in a great position.

“There are no injuries, and whilst we’ve got a lot of sore bodies, if we get the recovery right there will be plenty of enthusiasm. We can’t wait for it.”

The coach has identified discipline as a key area to work on for his team, who were over-eager on occasion at Murrayfield.

“Discipline is a big word, we just lacked accuracy at key times,” said Foster. “A lot of that was over-enthusiasm. We were desperate to stop the momentum Scotland were getting and just rushed a few things, be it offside or decision-making round the breakdown.

“It came from a good space, with guys working hard to wrestle back the momentum, but if you’re not accurate, it hurts you. We got frustrated at scrum time, and once we got on top of that, the correct pictures started to emerge. That was good problem-solving.”

Forwards battle

Foster threw his support behind his forward pack ahead of what will be a stern test of set-piece play against an efficient England pack.

“We back our scrum. We think it’s going really well. We felt we had the upper hand in that space, but we’ve got to work with the officials to make sure we’re giving them the pictures they want,” he said.

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