All Blacks anxious as Pumas play for Diego

The All Blacks can’t bear to think about a rare third straight defeat as the Pumas look to “do it for Diego” in Saturday night’s Tri Nations crunch match in Newcastle. Coveted silverware is on the line at McDonald Jones Stadium and New Zealand captain Sam Cane wasn’t beating about the bush when describing the […]

All Blacks anxious as Pumas play for Diego

The All Blacks can’t bear to think about a rare third straight defeat as the Pumas look to “do it for Diego” in Saturday night’s Tri Nations crunch match in Newcastle.

Coveted silverware is on the line at McDonald Jones Stadium and New Zealand captain Sam Cane wasn’t beating about the bush when describing the mood in camp following back-to-back losses to Australia and Argentina.

“The last two games; the feeling is just horrible. There’d be nothing worse than feeling that again heading into the summer,” Cane said ahead of the All Blacks’ last Test of 2020.

“The pressure that we’re under as a team, we’re using that in a really positive way to drive us.

“There is a slightly different mood; there’s been a bit of edge, a wee bit of almost grumpiness throughout the week.

“The guys from the leadership group are making sure things are spot on. It’s sort of like we’re going in there to do a job and hopefully come up with a result.”

The All Blacks haven’t endured three consecutive defeats this century, not since 1998 in fact.

The Pumas shocked the All Blacks at Parramatta. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

If they do again, the Pumas will be in the box seat to claim their most significant trophy ever entering the final match of the tournament against the Wallabies on Saturday week.

On the flip side, the All Blacks can secure the Tri Nations with a bonus-point victory – by out-scoring the Pumas by three tries or more.

“Everyone in the squad is hurting but a lot of us that went out and played (in the historic loss to Argentina), get the opportunity to right some wrongs, put some pride back in the jersey, is good for us so let’s take it,” Cane said on Friday.

A win for the unbeaten Pumas would leave the South Americans needing only a bonus point, from a loss of seven points or less to the Wallabies, to claim the trophy.

And Cane has no doubt the passionate and inspired underdogs will be extra motivated following the death this week of Argentine legend Diego Maradona.

“He’s one of the all-time greats, if not the greatest. He was the footballer of the century I’ve been told,” Cane said.

“Knowing the Argentinian people, he’s viewed as a God-like figure over there. It’s always sad when a great sportsman or woman passes away, so I’m sure it’ll be a bit of a driving factor for them.”

The Wallabies will be watching the game with interest.

With all three teams tied on six competition points, the preferred result for the Wallabies on Saturday night would be a draw.

In the event of that unlikely scenario, the next-best outcome for Australian fans is a tight contest without any bonus points accrued by either the All Blacks or Pumas.

That would leave the Wallabies, the tournament outsiders because of their poor points differential, needing only a bonus-point win over the Pumas in Sydney to secure the title.

Source : The Roar More   

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Will Foster be shown the door if the All Blacks lose to the Pumas again?

Is it really possible that New Zealand Rugby will give Ian Foster his marching orders in the event that the All Blacks lose to Argentina on Saturday in the penultimate game of the Tri Nations competition? Exactly how seriously the folk in the shaky isles take their rugby can be gauged from the fact that […]

Will Foster be shown the door if the All Blacks lose to the Pumas again?

Is it really possible that New Zealand Rugby will give Ian Foster his marching orders in the event that the All Blacks lose to Argentina on Saturday in the penultimate game of the Tri Nations competition?

Exactly how seriously the folk in the shaky isles take their rugby can be gauged from the fact that this option has been canvassed by a number of rugby writers after the disaster of the 25-15 loss to Argentina a fortnight ago.

Foster has had a disastrous start to his term as coach, with two defeats in his first five games in charge. Had these defeats been at the hands of teams like England or South Africa, it is doubtful that people would have reacted as they have.

But losing to Argentina is an entirely different story, especially given that the All Blacks have never lost to the Pumas until this year. The closest the South Americans had come to victory was a draw back in 1985.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Such has been the criticism from the public that it has riled New Zealand captain Sam Cane to the point where he made an unseemly comment, the likes of which have never come from any skipper that I can recall.

Cane came in for severe criticism after he said some fans were “brutal” and “might like to think they know a lot about the game of rugby, but really they don’t” during an interview with Sky Sports’ The Breakdown.

The All Blacks captain, the third most important man in the country after the prime minister and the All Blacks coach, has not expressed any remorse over his churlish statement.

He told the New Zealand Herald on Friday: “I’ve always spoken my mind and been reasonably honest, I hope most people will appreciate that.

“It’d be nice to just always do these interviews and play a pretty straight bat, you know, generic answers, but I suppose every now and then being honest may create some headlines.

“I was pretty happy with the whole interview as itself. If the whole interview is viewed it probably puts it into context.”

The New Zealand public is very possessive about their rugby team and it is probably a good thing that Saturday’s game is being played in Australia, else Cane may well have faced a public display of anger.

That said, it is not the public who decides on who will be coach. But if Foster were to lose a third game, questions would be raised about how he got the job ahead of Scott Robertson.

He has not been particularly successful in any role, and his only qualification was that he filled in as Steve Hansen’s deputy for many years.

Hansen went 35 games before his charges suffered two losses. Overall, the burly Hansen presided over 108 games and lost only ten.

Given that, Foster has very big shoes to fill and to say he would be nervous in the run-up to Saturday’s game is probably the understatement of the decade.

Even though the players tried to take the blame for the terrible showing against the Pumas last time, everyone knows that the coach will have to wear any blame.

Source : The Roar More   

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