HONG KONG (Reuters) - New Zealand coach Ian Foster said he has more immediate concerns than the next Rugby World Cup but believes his All Blacks have learned lessons from the Rugby Championship that can be used in France in 2023.
The All Blacks finished here the competition on Saturday with a narrow 31-29 loss at the hands of South Africa on the Gold Coast, with the defeat seeing New Zealand cede the number one ranking in world rugby back to the Springboks.
“Have we learnt anything that will hold us in good stead for 2023? I think so,” said Foster, whose side had clinched The Rugby Championship title last weekend.
“We’ve spent good time together, we’ve learned how to manage the ups and downs of different schedules, different travel routines than we would normally have.
“We’ve had to adapt and adjust and often you get that at World Cups.
“We’ve got an eye on that, but it’s only one eye and the thing I love about the international game is that you can’t really look too far forward than what’s happening next week.
“We just love the moment, we’re trying to take steps to grow in our game and I think if you look at the last four to five months we’ve made some good steps.”
The All Blacks will take a short break in Australia as pandemic restrictions mean they cannot return to New Zealand before embarking on a four-match stint in the northern hemisphere.
New Zealand travel to Washington to face the United States on Oct. 23 before moving to Europe for test matches against Italy, Ireland and France.
“We’re looking forward to going on our northern hemisphere tour and we’re going to play some different teams again that we haven’t played for a couple of years, their style,” Foster said.
There have been “some great learning moments for us but at the same time we want to go out there and win”, he said.
“One way to get ready for a World Cup is to build confidence through building your game and winning big games. That’s where tonight will be gold for us.”
Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by William Mallard
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.