Mark Robinson accepts New Zealand Rugby made mistakes with the way they handled uncertainty over All Blacks head coach Ian Foster's future.

The NZ Rugby board on Wednesday gave Foster their "full support" to stay on until the Rugby World Cup in France next year and appointed Joe Schmidt as his assistant.

That announcement came just a few days after NZ Rugby chief executive Robinson stated that the governing body would "take stock" and hold a debrief following a 35-23 Rugby Championship win over South Africa on Saturday.

The win over the world champions at Ellis Park came after the All Blacks had suffered five defeats in six Tests and sunk to a new low of fifth in the world rankings.

Robinson had only guaranteed that Foster would remain head coach for the tour of South Africa and he admits NZ Rugby did not handle the situation as well as they could have done.

"We acknowledge we haven't got everything right, we're not hiding from that," he said during a press conference in Auckland.

"Aspects of the sequencing in how we interacted with media and the public is something we could have done differently."

Robinson added that "clearly some aspects of the interface between the media and the public wasn’t as good as it could be."

He also conceded: "There's a few things we've done in recent times that could have been done better."

Robinson felt NZ Rugby had a difficult balancing act.

He said: "People want to hear what's going on, they want engagement and access and openness. When you attempt to achieve that, but you're not in a position to really say a lot, then the flip side is you are criticised for doing that. We are always learning.’"

When asked if stating that NZ Rugby would "take stock" following the win in Johannesburg last weekend added "fuel to the fire", Robison replied: "Hindsight's wonderful, isn't it?

"We were attempting to respond to a general demand to be want to be more open and want to be more transparent and give as much as we can possibly can at a time when people are curious, and we don't always make the right decisions.

"It's difficult, isn't it, if you don't say things and think of the best interests of the team and wait till they're out of the country, you're criticised for going missing in action.

"But if you turn up and do have something to say when you're not in strong position to say a lot of things, you get criticised for having to be in a position where you're not saying anything."

Ian Foster is staying on as New Zealand head coach and Joe Schmidt has been appointed as his assistant.

Foster had been under huge pressure following a dismal run of five defeats in six Tests, before the All Blacks lifted the gloom with a 35-23 Rugby Championship win over South Africa at Ellis Park on Saturday.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson had only guaranteed Foster would remain in the role for the two Tests against the Springboks.

Robinson stated after the victory over the world champions in Johannesburg that the governing body would "take stock" and hold a debrief, with Foster saying he expected to retain his job.

NZ Rugby on Wednesday confirmed that the 57-year-old will be in charge through to the Rugby World Cup in France next year, with Schmidt taking on a full-time role supporting him.

Stewart Mitchell, the NZR chair, said during a press conference in Auckland: "[The board] have unanimously agreed they have absolute confidence that Ian and this coaching group are the right people to lead the All Blacks through until the World Cup.

"This has been privately and publicly validated by our players and various conversations with our high-performance team."

Former Ireland head coach Schmidt had already been working in the All Blacks' set-up and Foster welcomed his appointment.

"Joe Schmidt has been on my radar, probably for a couple of years," said Foster.

"We flagged at the start of this year that his role was to join us after the Irish series as an independent selector to replace Grant Fox and in addition he was going to do some opposition analysis work and work alongside myself in the strategy area.

"We started that after the Irish series [which Ireland won 2-1] and delighted with how that's going. I have a great relationship with Joe."

Holders New Zealand are back in Rugby Championship action against Argentina at Orangetheory Stadium a week on Saturday.

Uncapped utility back Canan Moodie has been called up to the South Africa squad for the first time for the tour of Australia.

Moodie was included in a 34-man squad on Monday for two Rugby Championship encounters with the Wallabies.

The 19-year-old gets the nod in the absence of suspended wing Kurt-Lee Arendse and fellow flyer Cheslin Kolbe, who is recovering from a broken jaw.

Deon Fourie has also been selected, with hooker Bongi Mbonambi facing four weeks on the sidelines due to a knee injury sustained in training last week.

The world champions are smarting from a 35-23 defeat to New Zealand at Ellis Park on Saturday and will get an opportunity to respond at Adelaide Oval on August 27, with Australia also licking their wounds following a 48-17 drubbing at the hands of Argentina.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber said: "Bongi has been ruled out for four weeks, but Deon, who is an experienced hooker and flank, has been practising his lineout throws with us, so we are confident that he will be able to fill that void for us in these matches.

"We are also excited to see how Canan slots in during the next few weeks and to see how he adapts to our structures and systems, and we believe he has the skills to slot in for Kurt-Lee and Cheslin.

"This is a settled group of players and includes a wide spread of experience and young players who have made their presence felt, and we believe that they have what it takes to guide us back on track in the Rugby Championship in the matches against Australia."

 

South Africa squad to tour Australia: 

Forwards: Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Joseph Dweba, Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Salmaan Moerat, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Elrigh Louw, Kwagga Smith, Jasper Wiese, Duane Vermeulen, Deon Fourie, Franco Mostert.

Backs: Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, Warrick Gelant, Damian Willemse, Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn.

 

Ian Foster expects to stay on as All Blacks head coach as New Zealand Rugby bosses "take stock" following the win over South Africa on Saturday.

There remains uncertainty over Foster's future despite a 35-23 Rugby Championship victory over the world champions at Ellis Park.

New Zealand had lost five of their past six Tests - and three in a row - before stopping the rot in Johannesburg.

NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson had only guaranteed Foster would remain in his role for the two clashes with the Springboks and revealed there would be a debrief following a defeat and a win in South Africa.

He said on Sunday: "We've been having conversations right through this time, we believe we know where we stand and we've just got to work through that with him.

"We'll take stock of the conversations, the information coming out of the camp and comment later in the week."

Robinson added: "These have been challenging times right through the last few weeks. There is a huge amount of passion and speculation, a huge amount of expectation around the team and organisation, and we need to take the time we've got to set this team up for everything it needs to be successful."

Foster remained defiant, stating that he was not aware of Robinson's comments.

"I haven't heard or read those comments, but he's got a job to do," Foster told reporters. "I'm about to hop on a plane and go home.

"I'll be given feedback, no doubt, but my expectations are that I'm the All Blacks head coach and later in the week I'll be going to Christchurch and assembling the team until I'm told different."

Ardie Savea said he is "100 per cent" behind Foster following the win at the weekend and the head coach says he knows the players want him to keep his job.

"I certainly feel that I have the support and backing of the All Blacks," he said.

"There's still processes New Zealand Rugby want to go through. To coach this team, you have to have categoric support."

Michael Cheika revealed he was in tears as his Argentina side put Australia to the sword in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

The Pumas secured their biggest win over the Wallabies and their most emphatic in the Rugby Championship, winning 48-17 at Estadio Bicentenario.

Australian Cheika coached his country for five years before his reign came to an end in 2019 and the 55-year-old had mixed emotions during a record victory for Argentina in San Juan.

The Argentina head coach told reporters: "I love these guys, they're my crew now. I was up on the last try, cheering. But then I started crying because I know I probably shouldn't be doing this. It was a bit confusing for me, personally.

"But they're my boys now. That's my team. I will do everything I can to help them get success and enjoy rugby.

"They are paying me a lot of respect here and people are believing in the things that we are doing. I have to do everything I can to help them."

Cheika is relishing a short break in his homeland before Argentina take on New Zealand.

"It's good to be going to Australia and have a few days off, seeing my mum and my brothers and sisters and take the boys for a Leb (Lebanese) feed at my mum's place," Cheika said.

"But I am looking forward to going to New Zealand because it is a great place to go and play rugby."

Ardie Savea says he backs "my coach" Ian Foster "100 per cent" after New Zealand lifted the gloom with a magnificent 35-23 win over South Africa on Saturday.

Foster may still lose his job as All Blacks head coach despite a thrilling Rugby Championship victory at Ellis Park.

New Zealand opened up a 15-0 lead in the first half, but the world champions came storming back and were in front for the first time with 12 minutes to play.

With Beauden Barrett in the sin bin it looked like the Springboks would extend the All Blacks' losing streak to four matches, but late tries from David Havili and Scott Barrett ensured they stopped the rot and lifted the Freedom Cup.

Foster said he has no idea if he will remain in his role despite the much-needed win, but Savea - who was immense in Johannesburg - is fully behind his embattled head coach.

"This performance was for all of us, but for me, that's my coach, I back him 100 per cent, side by side," said the number eight, who made 13 carries for 58 metres.

"He has been under a lot of pressure, and I know Foz [Foster] doesn't want to make it about himself, but I just want everyone to know that all the players have got his back.

"He's a great coach, he's got great coaches beside him, and we back him 100 per cent. I hope everyone that reads this backs us because we are going to get it."

Asked if Foster deserves to stay on, Savea replied: "Like I said, he's my coach. That's it."

Captain Sam Cane and Samisoni Taukei'aho crossed in the first half, while Richie Mo'unga scored 15 points with the boot for the holders

Savea expressed his pride following another almighty battle at the end of a challenging week.

"The last couple of weeks this team has been through adversity, and in life and sport when you go through adversity it brings the best out of people," he said. 

"I saw something saying belief only takes us so far … it took us pretty far this week. I'm just proud of everyone in this team stepping up, especially at Ellis Park. It's bloody hard, I'm knackered, and can't wait to hit the sack and go see the family next week."

He added: "There are always doubters, always negativity, but that's okay, because that makes everyone better, and people care. Our fans care, the media care, which is fair, but also we had to step up and do our job.

"When people go through adversity, when they're stuck in the trenches, some things come out that make us special. Today that was it, but it's only a start. We've won one out of two in the Rugby Championship, and we’ve got to keep going."

 

Dave Rennie pulled no punches as he labelled Australia's 48-17 Rugby Championship hammering at the hands of Argentina as a "massive disappointment" and "not good enough".

The depleted Wallabies were without a host of players including fly-half Quade Cooper, who damaged his Achilles in the opening-round win over the Pumas last weekend.

Even accounting for the absentees, Australia were still pre-match favourites but were completely outclassed in San Juan as Argentina ran in seven tries.

It represented the Pumas' biggest ever win over Australia and moved them top of the standings after two games.

Speaking to Stan Sports after the game, New Zealander Rennie made no excuses for his side's poor performance.

"Massive disappointment. That's not good enough," Rennie said.

"We would [like to have a consistent team list] but we had a good enough side to do the job

"We gave them a few soft points early on and fought our way back into it. We have to do better and we'll get a few players back. Whoever puts the jersey on has to front up but we weren't good enough.

"We conceded four tries with kicks in between us and got dominated in the collision area. We created plenty of opportunities but we have to be patient and our rucks not a disaster.

"We just weren't clinical enough. We definitely lacked cohesion with a few changes. We'll look at the footage but we're better than that."

Australia will look to rebound when they host South Africa in Adelaide on August 27.

Ian Foster has "no idea" if New Zealand's 35-23 Rugby Championship win over South Africa on Saturday will be enough to save his job.

Foster has faced huge pressure as head coach of the All Blacks after a dismal run of five defeats in six Tests, but his team put in an impressive performance in Johannesburg.

Tries from captain Sam Cane and Samisoni Taukei'aho gave them a strong start, only for the world champions to fight back and take the lead with 12 minutes to go courtesy of scores from Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi, as well as 15 points from the boot of Handre Pollard.

Beauden Barrett had been sent to the sin bin for New Zealand, but late tries from David Havili and Scott Barrett turned things around for the All Blacks and secured a defiant win.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Foster was asked if he thought the victory might allow him a stay of execution, to which he said: "I have no idea, I am just going to enjoy tonight.

"It's never easy when you are coming off a couple of losses, but [I am] so proud. Just so proud of the effort... they hung in and finished strong."

Three consecutive defeats saw New Zealand plummet to fifth in the world rankings after losing their Rugby Championship opener last weekend, their lowest point in history.

Foster said after that defeat in Mbombela that it had been his team's best performance of the year, despite being beaten by South Africa.

"I know I got a little bit mocked for saying that last week, after the loss, but we made a big shift last week through our forward pack," he added.

"The work [forwards coach] Jason Ryan has done out there was strong, and I really felt we were creating a few opportunities. We wanted it so much we were rushing things. Whereas today [Saturday], we were just more patient."

The All Blacks' next game is against Argentina in Christchurch, and it remains to be seen if Foster will still be at the helm when that takes place on August 27.

Argentina claimed a rare win over Australia as the Pumas emerged 48-17 victors in an entertaining Rugby Championship clash on Saturday.

Australia had only lost one of their previous 14 Tests against Argentina, but the depleted Wallabies were clearly second best in San Juan as Michael Cheika's side got their first points on the table.

A fast start had the Pumas 14-0 up by the seventh minute thanks to tries from Juan Imhoff and Thomas Gallo, and just when Australia looked to have the momentum, another quickfire double courtesy of Jeronimo De La Fuente and Juan Martin Gonzalez had the hosts back in charge.

The second half was a much tighter affair until Gallo's second try of the day, the Pumas ultimately romping to an emphatic victory with more late tries from Emiliano Boffelli and Tomas Albornoz. 

A purposeful Argentina were helped to an early lead as a defensive mix-up saw the ball drop kindly in Australia's 22 for Imhoff, who darted over before a successful conversion.

They got their second try of the match in just the fifth minute as prop Gallo bundled over under the posts, with the extras added once again by Boffelli amid a ferocious start by the hosts.

Australia responded as James Slipper went over from close range following a well-worked lineout, and James O'Connor converted before also successfully kicking a penalty.

O'Connor looked to have put Australia in front with 21 thrilling minutes played, but an earlier infringement earned Argentina a reprieve that they duly took full advantage of.

De La Fuente beat two men and dotted down for a gutsy try after seemingly pulling his hamstring partway through his run, and another fine Boffelli kick opened up an 11-point lead.

The deficit was further increased five minutes later thanks to Gonzalez, who charged clear from outside the 22 following an O'Connor fumble, but Australia had a lucky escape soon after when Boffelli had a try harshly chalked off despite appearing to touch the line with the ball.

After a quiet start to the second period, the Pumas effectively put the game beyond Australia with 16 minutes to go.

Gallo again showed great strength to force his way over from close range, and Boffelli's conversion made it 36-10.

Len Ikitau quickly hit back with a try of his own and O'Connor kicked the extras, but Bofelli then touched down after chasing down a low kick and with the final action of the game, Albornoz ran in behind to cap a memorable win.

Gallo embodies Pumas' spirit

This was some performance from 23-year-old Gallo. The prop's power and sheer determination was routinely on display, and never more crucially than with his two tries.

The two efforts were very similar in style as he simply refused to be tackled, and the second of which essentially killed off any hope of an Australia comeback.

O'Connor frustrated

The mercurial fly-half was given the chance to impress in the absence of Quade Cooper, who suffered a serious Achilles injury in Mendoza last weekend, and he certainly had his moments.

One such instance was his disallowed try, a decision that looked pretty harsh at the time. But ultimately he just did not have the influence he might have expected, and was also the man caught in possession prior to Gonzalez dotting down.

Ian Foster may have been given a lifeline at Ellis Park as New Zealand stopped the rot with a thrilling 35-23 Rugby Championship win over South Africa.

All Blacks head coach Foster has faced huge pressure after a dismal run of five defeats in six Tests, but his side appear to be behind him on the evidence of their impressive performance in Johannesburg on Saturday.

They opened up a 15-point lead following tries from captain Sam Cane and Samisoni Taukei'aho, but the world champions fought back to take the lead with 12 minutes to go courtesy of scores from Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi, as well as 15 points from the trusty boot of Handre Pollard.

New Zealand were also a man down with Beauden Barrett in the sin bin, but late tries from David Havili and Scott Barrett stunned the Springboks to deliver a vital victory.

Richie Mo'unga scored 15 points from the tee as the holders secured a battling victory for the under-fire Foster.

South Africa lost Damian Willemse to the sin bin for a ruck infringement early on and Jesse Kriel was unable to return after a head injury assessment, but they prevented New Zealand from scoring when they were a man down.

A scrappy Test burst into life after Mo'unga's 25th-minute penalty, as Cane finished in the corner following an incisive break from Caleb Clarke and Taukei'aho crashed over for a try that Mo'unga converted brilliantly.

The Springboks quickly reduced the arrears when Am showed power and pace to round off a slick move on the right wing and Pollard cut the gap to five points with a mammoth penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Mo'unga was on target again after Pollard's second successful penalty early in the second half and the All Blacks fly-half put his side eight points up when he sent another kick between the posts after Mapimpi had a try disallowed for obstruction.

Mapimpi was not to be denied moments later, though, taking a brilliant pass from Willemse and touching down for a score that Pollard expertly converted from the left touchline.

Pollard booted the Springboks into the lead for the first time with 12 minutes to go after replacement Beauden Barrett was yellow-carded for obstructing Jaden Hendrikse.

New Zealand dug deep to win it despite being a man down. with Havili going over in the corner following a brilliant break started by Rieko Ioane and Scott Barrett putting the icing on the cake from close range - with Mo'unga adding the extras for both scores.

Even a victory may not be enough for Ian Foster to keep his job when New Zealand lock horns with South Africa once again at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Foster was under massive pressure before the Rugby Championship started and a 26-10 defeat at the hands of the Springboks last weekend ensured the writing would appear to be on the wall for the All Blacks head coach.

That loss in Mbombela pushed New Zealand down to their worst ever world ranking of fifth, and they face another almighty battle against the world champions in Johannesburg.

Australia fought back to start the tournament with a 41-26 victory over Argentina, so the Pumas will be hungry for revenge at Estadio Bicentenario in round two.

Stats Perform preview the matches using Opta data.

 

SOUTH AFRICA V NEW ZEALAND

FORM

It is now five losses in six Tests for the wounded All Blacks and three defeats in a row. Only once in the past 70 years have they lost more than three games in a row - suffering five consecutive defeats from July to August in 1998.

South Africa have won six of their past seven home games in the Rugby Championship, including four on the bounce. It is the third time they have won four on the spin at home in the competition and they have never managed five straight wins in such fixtures.

The Springboks have won their past two meetings with New Zealand. The last time they won more in succession against the All Blacks was a three-game streak from July to September in 2009.

ONES TO WATCH

The vastly experienced Duane Vermeulen returns at number eight for South Africa after recovering from a knee injury. He replaces Jasper Wiese and will need to hit the ground running.

A standout selection for New Zealand was the inclusion of Richie Mo'unga at fly-half, with Beauden Barrett dropping to the bench a week after he was involved in a nasty collision with Kurt-Lee Arendse. Foster will look to Mo'unga to provide control and set the tempo, provided he gets the ball to enable him to pull the strings.

ARGENTINA V AUSTRALIA

FORM

Australia have lost only one of their past 14 Tests against Argentina, winning 11 and drawing two. The Wallabies have won their last three versus the Pumas; 10 of the wins being decided by margins of at least 10 points.

Argentina are winless in 10 Rugby Championship/Tri Nations game, losing eight and drawing two. They have lost their last seven in the competition and squandered a 19-10 half-time lead last weekend.

It is now five Rugby Championship/Tri Nations victories in a row for Dave Rennie's Australia side, their longest winning run in the competition.

ONES TO WATCH

Former Australia head coach Michael Cheika has turned to Gonzalo Bertranou to start at scrum-half. The pivot must get Argentina ticking and put the Wallabies on the back foot.

Another cruel injury blow for Quade Cooper has opened the door for James O'Connor to start at fly-half for Australia. The number 10 will know he has a great opportunity to put on a show just over a year before the World Cup starts.

New Zealand have dropped to an all-time low of fifth in the world rankings after losing to South Africa in their Rugby Championship opener on Saturday.

The All Blacks started the defence of their title with a 26-10 defeat at the hands of the world champions at Mbombela Stadium.

It was a third consecutive loss for New Zealand, representing their worst run since they were beaten five times in a row back in 1998.

The Springboks piled more pressure on under-fire All Blacks head coach Steve Foster, who vowed to fight on after a first ever home series loss to Ireland.

Another setback in Nelspruit has dropped New Zealand below England just over a year before the Rugby World Cup starts in France.

It is now five defeats in six Tests for the All Blacks, who face South Africa once again at Ellis Park this weekend with Foster's job seemingly on the line.

Ireland are top of the rankings ahead of France, with the Springboks third.

Dave Rennie says captain Michael Hooper has shown "true courage" by withdrawing from Australia's Rugby Championship opener against Argentina.

The flanker opted against facing the Pumas at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on Saturday, as he is not in the right frame of mind to play.

James Slipper will step in to lead the Wallabies in Mendonza, with Hooper heading home and Fraser McReight getting a late call to take the number seven shirt.

Australia head coach Rennie praised Hooper for making such a brave decision.

"Michael's one of the most professional and impressive men I've coached I know this has been a difficult decision for him," he said.

"He's shown true courage by acknowledging where he is at and acting on it.

"We will support him in any way we can and I know the team will be focused on getting the job done tomorrow."

Hooper said: "While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time.

"My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first and I don't feel I am able to fulfil my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset."

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos says Hooper will be given all the support he needs.

He said: "Michael is an incredible leader, it takes a brave man to identify where he’s at and come forward whilst having the best interests of the team at heart.

"His wellbeing is and remains the highest priority right now where Rugby Australia and the Australian Rugby community will do everything to support him and his family."

South Africa are favourites to inflict a third consecutive defeat on New Zealand for the first time since 1998 when they meet in a huge Rugby Championship battle on Saturday.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is under pressure after New Zealand lost a home series to Ireland for the first time last month.

A trip to face the world champions twice at the start of the Rugby Championship would appear to be make or break for Foster, who needs his side to step up in the first game of the tournament at Mbombela Stadium.

New Zealand won the title last year, but have lost their way just 13 months before the Rugby World Cup starts in France.

Meanwhile, Argentina do battle with Australia at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on the opening day, with the Wallabies having been so short of success away from home as Michael Cheika looks to mastermind a victory over his former team.

Stats Perform preview the Tests in Nelspruit and Mendoza with the use of Opta facts.

SOUTH AFRICA V NEW ZEALAND

FORM

South Africa start the Rugby Championship on the back of a 2-1 series win over Wales and have been victorious in six of their past seven Tests on home soil, conceding 20 points or more in just one of those matches.

It is just one win in five Tests for the out-of-sorts All Blacks, who last lost three in a row 24 years ago. They were beaten in five consecutive matches from July to August 1998, with the Springboks winning two of those contests.

New Zealand have a strong record in South Africa, though, having won their past four away Tests against the Springboks

ONES TO WATCH

Damian Willemse caught the eye against Wales, ranking in the top five for both metres gained (190m – third) and line breaks (three – joint-fourth) among players from Tier One nations in the July Tests. The All Blacks will have to prevent the in-form full-back from doing further damage.

Number eight Ardie Savea is among the senior figures who Foster will be counting on to have a big influence. Savea was the only player to score three tries versus a Tier One nation last month, striving in vain to prevent Ireland from making history.

 

​ARGENTINA V AUSTRALIA

FORM

Argentina have a spring in their step after a 2-1 series victory over Scotland and have their sights on back-to-back wins for the first time since November 2020 as Cheika finds himself in the strange position of plotting Australia's downfall.

The Wallabies are smarting from a series loss to England on home soil and have won only one of their past nine Tests outside of Australia – versus Japan last October.

Australia have become accustomed to getting the better of the Pumas, though, winning four and drawing two of the previous six encounters. Six of the past seven Tests between the two nations in Argentina have gone the way of the touring side.

ONES TO WATCH

Argentina's dramatic series win over Scotland came courtesy of a last-gasp try from Emiliano Boffelli, who also scored 14 points with the boot and provided an assist.

Quade Cooper returns from injury to start at fly-half for Australia. Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie will expect the number 10 and scrum-half Nic White to dictate the tempo.

Under-fire New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has made four changes to his XV for the All Blacks' first Test against South Africa, bidding to "add new experiences and grow our game".

New Zealand begin their Rugby Championship campaign with a double-header against the Springboks as they look to bounce back from a series defeat at home to Ireland.

Sevu Reece has made way for Caleb Clarke for the Mbombela opener, while Scott Barrett comes into the second row for the injured Brodie Retallick. Samisoni Taukei'aho and Angus Ta'avao will also play, as Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala both drop out of the 23-man squad.

Tyrel Lomax and Ethan de Groot make the squad for the first time in the 2022 international season, starting from the bench.

There has been much talk around Foster's future after the All Blacks' first home series loss since 1994, but he is looking forward to the challenge of these two matches.

"What a great way to start this year's Rugby Championship," Foster said. "It's always an exciting tournament to be part of.

"This year's draw means we have a massive challenge of two games here in the South Africa. We have settled in well in Mbombela and are preparing for what is always an intense game against our old foe.

"Many of our squad are here in South Africa for the first time. This gives us another opportunity to add new experiences and grow our game." 

 

New Zealand team: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; George Bower, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Angus Ta'avao, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Akira Ioane, Sam Cane (captain), Ardie Savea.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Ethan De Groot, Tyrel Lomax, Tupou Vaa'i, Shannon Frizell, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo'unga, Quinn Tupaea.

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