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Ian Foster: New Zealand cannot compete with Pennyhill Park facilities

Published 26/10/2015

Ian Foster, pictured, believes New Zealand could not replicate England's purpose-built Pennyhill Park base
Ian Foster, pictured, believes New Zealand could not replicate England's purpose-built Pennyhill Park base

New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster believes the All Blacks "haven't got the ability" to build a high-performance centre to rival England's Pennyhill Park.

The All Blacks moved into England's purpose-built camp in Bagshot on Monday, ahead of Saturday's World Cup showdown with Australia.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) reputedly spent £3million on the high-performance unit at Pennyhill Park for England's World Cup bid.

Stuart Lancaster's squad spent just 16 days of the tournament at their world-class headquarters though, leaving the All Blacks keen to size up the facilities.

"I've been to the Lensbury and enjoyed it but I haven't been to Pennyhill so you may have to ask us tomorrow," said New Zealand assistant boss Foster.

"I've heard it's pretty posh but quite frankly it's an external issue that doesn't really make any difference.

"Hopefully I'm getting my point across that we've got a World Cup final on Saturday, and nothing else really matters than just us preparing well.

"So where we stay, the bed or the training field's not really that important."

South Africa and Argentina have already spent time in England's second home, after the tournament hosts failed to progress from the group stages.

While the RFU are locked in their own tournament review that will determine head coach Lancaster's future, the defending champions All Blacks will shortly be enjoying all Pennyhill Park's creature comforts.

A specially-equipped gym boasts dumbbells as heavy as 85kgs, while motivational quotes from the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger adorn the walls.

Foster refused to be drawn on whether New Zealand have proved investing so heavily can prove futile, but accepted the All Blacks will not be fussed by their surroundings this week.

Although attempting to downplay the comparisons, Foster's comments will only reinforce frustrations over England's World Cup failure despite the RFU's status as the game's richest union.

"Obviously you guys are making out it is quite posh so I'm getting quite excited now, but as far as I'm concerned it's a hotel, a training field and a gym," said Foster.

"And will we want to copy stuff and take it back home? Well there's a lot of facilities over here we'd love to take back home.

"This country's got some amazing facilities and they should be very proud of them.

"It doesn't prove anything.

"It's just different.

"We're in a different environment. We haven't got the ability to do that.

"So we have to find our own way to do things, and I'm sure they do the same here."

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