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Ian Foster has the backing of his players, says All Blacks’ Ardie Savea

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Johannesburg – After the Springboks conspired to lose to a vulnerable All Blacks team, almost nobody at Ellis Park noticed in their disappointment that there was a trophy up for grabs, but the New Zealanders were delighted to retain the Freedom Cup.

Whether this is enough to keep Ian Foster gainfully employed is another story but if it’s up to their best player, Ardie Savea, Foster will soldier on as All Black coach.

“This performance was for all of us, but for me, that’s my coach, I back him 100%, side by side,” said Savea after his team’s shock 35-23 win.

“He has been under a lot of pressure, and I know ‘Foz’ 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%.

“I hope everyone that reads this backs us because we are going to get it.”

The No 8 said that the All Blacks had never questioned their ability, despite being written off by all and sundry.

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“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,” Savea 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 get home to the family,” the exhausted Savea said on Saturday after the game.

He then added: “There are always doubters, always negativity, but that’s okay because that makes everyone better, and people care,” he said.

“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.”

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Savea said that the All Black will keep their feet on the ground as they now turn their attention to Argentina.

“It’s a start. The boys are stoked to get the win, but in the back of my mind it’s only a start.

“Hopefully we can build on this, and take confidence.

“Jason Ryan has done an amazing job directing our forward pack to where it needs to be.”

Savea highlighted his team’s composure in the final minutes when they not only kept the Boks at bay but also scored the last points.

“When this team is calm and fluid, and the players are fluid, we play some of our best footy. There were moments it could have gone either way, and I’m just really proud of our leaders who stood up.”

@MikeGreenaway67

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