Locking in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup for another year was one thing, but building on those achievements on their northern tour of Japan and Europe would be vital for the All Blacks.
Coach Ian Foster said claiming the championship was “very satisfying”, especially having to win it the hard way.
The Northern tours have always been difficult due to fatigue at the end of a season and the travel involved, but they have been helped this year by having an extra week off without a third Bledisloe Cup match.
They have a three day camp in Nelson and will be cooler than previous years.
They will face Japan in Tokyo on October 29, Wales in Cardiff on November 6 (NZT), Scotland in Edinburgh on November 14 and England on November 20.
“It’s a deliberate strategy. We’re going to be really stuck on this northern hemisphere tour.
“It’s important that we finish this in a position where we have a very clear picture of what we’re going to do because next year is pretty thin when you look at our preparation before a World Cup,” he said. declared.
The All Blacks would have five Tests in 2023 before the World Cup, so they needed to maximize their opportunities.
Foster said the 2022 victory was different from other championships won by the All Blacks.
“Doing it behind the eight ball off the start and having to climb through that wasn’t the way we wanted. I’m really proud of the effort the boys have put in. They’ve worked hard, they’ve been open-minded about different little things, and I think we’re starting to see the results.
The lessons of the campaign were that under pressure they stay tight and while the search for solutions sometimes made everyone uncomfortable, they had to go all the way with the aim of getting the right performance.
They are not the finished article, which was reviewed when they won at Eden Park.
“The building blocks are cool, but there are still a lot of finishes we can’t get right. But what a great place to be,” he said.
Line break conversion was an area needing attention, as was Australia’s return to the scoreboard late in the game.
“These are small things, but they will be big things in 12 months.”
Foster felt that great progress in defense and set pieces had been made, but they were still not an 80-minute team. It was due to the experience on the other side.
“It takes time for people to understand that you hit for half a second in a test match, you get punished.
“We’ve seen signs over the past two months that we’ve got a lot of good spells in games, but we just haven’t quite grasped the fact that if you don’t nail every little bit you get hurt. . And once you get injured on the scoreboard, it becomes hard to catch up.
It was about playing against different teams while staying in the moment and then looking towards the next moment.
“We have proven to ourselves that we can rise through the ranks in adversity, and there will be more to come.
“That’s international rugby.
“I’m proud of how the team handled the pressure of not performing at the level we want and the pressure that comes with that,” Foster said.
Before announcing the squad for the northern tour in two weeks, he would consider his options in midfield, where Jordie Barrett impressed in Saturday’s win.
“What a great athlete. He played well for us as a full-back and on the wing and he has now played very well as a 12-year-old [second five-eighths]. He certainly had a big impact last night.
Foster was pleased with the development of his front row. It had been a season where they intended to put in markers, especially to see where their experienced players were, and part of that was to inject a few young players who deserved a chance.
“It’s been a journey for them too. You can go back and talk about Ethan [de Groot], for example, and his journey from Super Rugby, and then we had to spend six weeks getting him up to the fitness level he needed. But the real message is that if you want to get the job done outside the park, there is an opportunity. And he took it well. »
As well as selecting their team for the northern tour, they would also choose the All Blacks XV for a two-game tour of the UK, including a game against the Barbarians on November 13 at Tottenham Stadium and another game to be confirmed. .
Due to their schedule and the need for them to develop as a team, there would be minimal crossover between teams, he said.