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Ireland v New Zealand: Foster says 'nervous' New Zealand have a point to prove

By Cian Tracey

Published 16/11/2016

Confident: All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster
Confident: All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster

There are plenty of words one could use to describe the All Blacks but 'nervous' is certainly not one that you often hear coming from inside their camp. To hear the All Blacks' assistant coach Ian Foster talk about a "nervousness" will have been music Joe Schmidt's ears but at the same time, come Saturday, the visitors will be playing with a chip on their shoulder and with a point to prove.

"I think we certainly know that we are playing a team that beat us recently," Foster said.

"I still think we are confident in what we do but there's a nice nervousness about it. We know that if we don't front up and play to the best of our ability, we know it is going to be a long night so, to be honest, it's a good feeling.

"There's an edge in the air. Coming to Dublin and preparing to play Ireland is always pretty special for us.

"It's a fantastic stadium, the supporters are amazing and I guess what's happened in Chicago has just added a little bit more seasoning to it, hasn't it?

"The boys are in a good spot. We're following our normal process but there is a bit of an edge, yeah.

"We expect that they'll have a couple of extra tricks but at the end of the day, the basis of their game will remain the same and largely the basis of our game will probably remain the same.

"There will be little areas that, clearly for us, we need to execute better - particularly in that first part of the game. We can't keep letting Ireland have 25-point head starts."

Jared Payne gets a second chance to go up against familiar faces - this time on his adopted home turf.

At times, people in Ireland fail to appreciate just how good Payne is but Foster, who coached the Ulster player in his early days, is in no doubt about his quality.

"He's a fine player, a good man. He came through the Waikato system and probably left a little bit too early for our liking.

"As much as I would have preferred to see him stick around in New Zealand, he's done so well over here. I spoke to him after the game and I was delighted for him for what he's done. I hope he doesn't do it again!

"He certainly had that potential (to become an All Black). He was determined about how much work he was prepared to put into it. He clearly was. He made a decision to go overseas but he's one that got away I guess."

Jerome Kaino played alongside Payne and to hear the flanker speak so glowingly about him hammers home just how respected he is back in New Zealand.

"I've played with him at the Blues and also against him when he was at the Crusaders. I was very proud to see him running out in Irish colours but I wouldn't say proud in Chicago when he beat us," Kaino smiled.

"As a friend I was proud but we'll have to shut him down this weekend."

Belfast Telegraph

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