All Blacks not a team to fear - Burger

2015-09-25 20:40
Jacques Burger (Gallo Images)

London - The All Blacks mystique appears under threat with Jacques Burger, captain of rugby minnows Namibia, saying the defending champions are not a team to be feared.

While the All Blacks themselves would not go so far as to say they may not be invincible, assistant coach Ian Foster admitted Friday that two games into the Rugby World Cup they have problem areas to be addressed.

Namibia showed suggestions of a cricket score when they played the All Blacks in a Pool C match at Olympic Stadium on Thursday were well wide of the mark.

After their top side's less than convincing performance against Argentina, where two yellow-cards suggested discipline issues, a largely second XV lacked conviction against the tournament lightweights Namibia.

They won comfortably 58-14 at Olympic Stadium on Thursday, but Burger said his mix of amateurs and professionals quickly learned there was no need to be in awe of the All Blacks.

"Half of these boys are eight till fivers so to play against the All Blacks on the world stage is a special moment for us and I'm glad that uncertainty is over now. The boys realise it’s just another 15 individuals you are up against," he said.

The Namibians played "their idols" and "now they realise it can be done. You don't need a miracle to perform well against these guys."

Foster said the All Blacks first half performance against Namibia, when they scored five of their nine tries, was pleasing but they went off the boil after halftime.

"It looked like we got bored," he said. "When the game got slow and we were trying to make things up that's when we lost our form and our patience a little bit.

"So that side we can work on. I guess the other area was we probably got a little bit flat off some of our phase plays out wide.

"That's not so much about the backs. It's about the team just reading the pace of the ball."

Questioned about the stop-start nature of the second half, where much of the finger-pointing has been directed at a tiring Namibia, Foster said the All Blacks weren't entirely blameless.

"We probably shouldn't drop the ball so much, that would help," he said.

"Some aspects of our game are going really well but we still haven't put an 80 minute performance together and we're certainly clear on that."

The bright spots for the All Blacks included two tries each to man-of-the-match Nehe Milner Skudder and his wing partner Julian Savea.

They are two of the four All Blacks to have started both Pool C games so far, but at least one is expected to drop out in their next game a week away against Georgia with Waisake Naholo scheduled to return from injury.

Naholo broke a leg in a Rugby Championship Test against Argentina more than two months ago and Foster said the signs were good that he will be fit enough to take the field against Georgia in Cardiff on October 2.

The All Blacks target for that match would be to continue building cohesion.

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