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All Blacks coach Ian Foster on thin ice after shock loss to Argentina

All Blacks coach Ian Foster said after last Saturday's 25-15 loss to Argentina that he was not feeling under any great pressure, but yesterday's papers back home in New Zealand would have made for grim reading.

Expectations are always high in New Zealand when it comes to rugby and a 40 per cent win rate over his first five tests in charge have led inexorably to calls for Foster to be sacked.

His immediate predecessors Steve Hansen and Graham Henry had win records of 86.92 per cent and 85.4 per cent.

"The first and most obvious thing to say about Argentina's brilliant win over the All Blacks, from a New Zealand point of view, is that Ian Foster must go," said columnist Chris Rattue in the New Zealand Herald, after Argentina defeated the All Blacks for the first time in 30 tests.

The Tri Nations shock in Sydney came on the back of a 24-22 loss to Australia in Brisbane, where a young Wallabies side coached by New Zealander Dave Rennie also found the All Blacks wanting under pressure.

Former All Black John Kirwan, speaking on Sky Sport, said that Argentina, like England at last year's World Cup semi-finals, showed that when the All Blacks are under pressure, "they don't have a plan B".

One of the few plus points for Foster is his team had already secured the Bledisloe Cup for an 18th straight season after a 16-16 draw and two thumping wins over the Wallabies.

But he has only the rematch with Argentina on Nov 28 to restore some pride and anything short of a handsome victory could bring an end to his reign.

For Argentina coach Mario Ledesma, the upset ranks as his finest achievement. The Pumas went into the match having not played a test in 13 months, while enduring coronavirus lockdowns in Argentina and Uruguay before quarantining for two weeks in Australia.

"There's no magic formula, it's always the players," he said. "Some of the boys haven't seen their families for four months and they haven't complained once, they've always been positive." - REUTERS, AFP

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