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Highlights on Off The Ball

'The best performance I've faced as New Zealand coach' | Ian Foster on Ireland

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster could only celebrate Ireland's performance against his team on Saturday.

'The best performance I've fac...

'The best performance I've faced as New Zealand coach' | Ian Foster on Ireland

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster described Ireland's performance in glowing terms.

James Lowe, Ronan Kelleher and Caelan Doris all scored tries as Ireland blew past New Zealand.

The 29-20 scoreline didn't fully reflect the game. New Zealand lived on scraps, surrendering over 70% possession and territory in the first half. The second half wasn't much better for the visitors. New Zealand head coach Ian Foster acknowledged that his side were badly beaten on the day.

Firstly, he noted that Ireland carried the foundation of previous teams that beat New Zealand but with new wrinkles.

"There's a lot of similarities [between this team and the 2018 team]," Foster said.

"Ireland play a very high retention game. They like to retain the ball and put your system under pressure. We saw that again tonight, but there's certainly a desire to play with a little bit more ambition I think around that. It's a bit wider how they're playing some of their phase stuff. I think also on the counter-attack there seems to be a little bit more ambition."

Ireland combined flowing backline moves with dominant carries from the pack and a sprinkling of the kicking game. It wasn't a festival of box kicking so the crowd wasn't bored and the New Zealand backline weren't given the ball to run it back.

Andy Farrell's team retained possession so New Zealand had to fight for anything they got. They lost that fight so Foster could only concede Ireland were the better team.

"But don't get me wrong. I thought that was a very, very good performance from Ireland.

"Probably the best performance I've come up against in my time. I thought they were pretty polished...we've certainly got no excuses to say this wasn't a World Cup game or anything like that, we were very excited about playing and didn't get what we want.

"We hung in there and still didn't get what we wanted. Sometimes you've just got to accept you were second best on the night."

Ireland and New Zealand will play three games against each other next year. Foster wasn't going to provide any bulletin board material in advance of those games.

"We'll be pretty keen but it's a long way away."

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