New Zealand: Ian Foster hails All Blacks comeback against Scotland

Ian Foster All Blacks coach v Scotland ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Ian Foster All Blacks coach v Scotland ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster hailed his side’s second-half performance which sealed a 31-23 come-from-behind victory against Scotland in their Autumn Nations Series Test at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Foster was full of praise for the “composure” shown by his charges against an impressive Scotland side.

The All Blacks raced into a 14-0 lead courtesy of two quickfire tries from Samisoni Taukei’aho and Mark Telea but the home side soon took control of proceedings and were leading 23-14 by the 55th minute.

Strong finish

The All Blacks‘ replacements bench did the job, however, and the visitors finished the match with a flurry as they scored 17 unanswered points during the final quarter to keep alive their unbeaten record in 32 Tests played against Scotland.

“I was delighted to come away with a good win for many reasons,” Foster told reporters. “One of them was the composure shown in the last 20. When you’re away from home against a team with their tails up, it’s hard to turn that around.

“I thought the work done by Sam [Whitelock] and the leaders on the park and the bench in particular gave us a lot of composure and enabled us to finish that test very strongly.

“It’s a Test win we’re very proud of.”

Foster highlighted the improvements his team has made over the last 12 months or so after they came up short in similar situations on last year’s end-of-year tour.

“At 23-14 they were accumulating points through pressure and forcing us into a lack of discipline which was annoying because we had to stop that. You’ve got to give them credit for that,” he said.

“You train for scenarios like this. If you go back 12 months to the last two Tests of the year where we tripped up in the north (with defeats to Ireland and France), both those Tests we were in contention at the start of the last quarter but we didn’t show the composure we showed today.

“I think that shows some good signs of growth and that’s with a few guys who were getting some opportunity, particularly the likes of Mark Telea playing his first test in that sort of environment with that sort of pressure. He’ll be really proud of what he did.”

Foster had special praise for openside flanker Dalton Papalii, who won the official man-of-the-match award. Papalii made a team-high 14 tackles, and shone as a ball carrier and at the breakdown.

“He’s carried on how he’s played for us last year and he’s grown an arm and leg since then,” said Foster. “He’s tough, and up here he’s well suited to the close-quarter type games played. We’re delighted with his form – he’s a hungry man, he wants to play and he’s playing really well.”

Excellent Test debut

Blues wing Mark Telea also caught the eye as he scored a brace of tries on his Test debut and finished with a team-high 92 metres gained on attack from 13 runs, which included three clean breaks and six defenders beaten.

“He couldn’t have done any better – score an early one, settles your nerves down, then score a pretty important one near the end, and in between he caught the ball and had strong carries,” said Foster.

“We’ve been watching him the last few weeks and been pretty impressed.”

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series: All Blacks launch late fightback as Scotland miss big chance of famous victory at Murrayfield

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