Cape Town - All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster wants the world champions to make a statement of intent when they face France in Paris on Saturday.
The two-times back-to-back defending World Cup champions have had a humbling year, drawing the series with the British and Irish Lions and losing to Australia in the third and final Bledisloe Cup match of 2017.
Foster says that the 23-18 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane was not just disappointing because of the result but because of the manner in which they lost.
Teams have been able to punch holes in the All Blacks defence with more regularity. After his side's admirable 31-22 defeat to the All Blacks, Barbarians coach Robbie Deans labelled the All Blacks as vulnerable.
And Foster wants the All Blacks to use the Brisbane defeat as motivation to restore their wounded pride.
“It niggles. The loss is one thing but it’s the quality of the performance that was really disappointing,” Foster told Roar.
“We want to make sure that we put a statement on the park on Saturday that we’ve learned a lot of lessons from Brisbane.
“I think we went partly towards that, particularly in the second half of the Barbarians game.”
Foster said the All Blacks could have few excuses for any slip-ups on their tour of Europe as coach Steve Hansen's squad rotation policy means his senior players are well rested going in to the three-match series and ready to explode.
“I don’t think any All Black likes not being with us, or sitting in the grandstand or sitting at home and watching an All Blacks team play. That certainly creates its own edge," Foster added.
“It just feels good to have everyone back.”
Meanwhile, talismanic flanker Sam Cane, who made a huge impact off the bench last weekend, wants the All Blacks to improve their execution in the match situation and transfer their intensity in training to the real thing.
He’s seen signs that it could come together over the rest of this month.
“Things we’ve been working on, we’ve been getting them 80 per cent right,” he said.
“If someone can work a wee bit harder to get back in place or another person looks up and sees where the space is, we’ll get there.
“Hopefully we can put all that out there.”