All Blacks coach Iain Foster appeared to be burning with righteous indignation as he criticized the New Zealand media for “viciously attacking” him following his side’s 35-23 win over the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday night.

Foster was widely expected to be sacked when the All Blacks suffered a second straight defeat against South Africa, which would have been their sixth defeat in seven matches. But his All Blacks team showed glimpses of their former glory as they stretched the Springboks with quick offloading play, won the battle at the breakdown, held up well at set-pieces and defended like their lives depended on it.

Read more: All Bjust short of beating the errant Boks in another Ellis Park epic

“I think the stress worked for me, I lost a pound,” Foster remarked ironically. “It comes with the job, but it’s been pretty tough, especially from the New Zealand media.

“I think it’s very insulting to call them a popgun pick for players who give their all for their country. But these times are the best test of character.

“I am very proud of this performance. I couldn’t be more proud of doing it at the top when the game wobbled – there were times when we could have won and times when we could have lost.

“It was 0-0 for a long time and you could feel it was a real uphill battle, but that’s South Africa. You have to bide your time and we wanted to target the second half and tired legs the way we wanted to play,” he said.

Rough experiences

For a solid Springboks v All Blacks Test at Ellis Park, it can be one of the most terrifying experiences, with the crowd almost baying for blood, swearing freely and within the first 10 minutes there was a brawl in the main stand.

But Foster, feeling vindicated, relished the occasion as the All Blacks produced their main response to the pressure of the game in Johannesburg, claiming their fifth win in their last six games there.

“It’s a pretty special occasion and the All Blacks v Springboks rivalry often produces moments like that. I would like to thank the Republic of South Africa for their contribution to this amazing spectacle,” said Foster.

“We are very proud to win the Freedom Cup, it is very important for us. Tonight’s performance was the result of the last two and a half weeks, this team has reformed and reshaped a bit.

“I also saw the same character last week, but we didn’t get the rebound and we didn’t play well enough. Sometimes dramatic change comes simply from playing more together.

“Long-term success often begins with adversity. I said last week was our best performance of the year because I saw some signs of competitiveness. This game requires patience, which some people lack,” Foster said.

Also read: Boks outclassed, how quick will All Blacks bounce back?

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