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