WELLINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s loss to Australia in the Tri-Nations last week was a setback, but former flyhalf Dan Carter is adamant the side was building nicely as they prepare to face Argentina in Sydney on Saturday.
The All Blacks were beaten 24-22 by the Wallabies last week, just seven days after they had inflicted a record 43-5 defeat on their Australian counterparts and sealed the Bledisloe Cup for the 18th successive season.
Carter, however, was not overly concerned with the reversal last week, with the team in a rebuilding phase in 2020 after several senior players left New Zealand rugby following their third-place finish at last year’s World Cup.
“They had a bit of a setback last weekend,” Carter told Reuters. “They are building.
“They’re happy with the way they have progressed and they’re obviously blooding a few players this year which is a natural progression post World Cup.
“There is a lot of exciting young talent in that team. The more times they play together they stronger and better they will get.”
Instead of giving his fringe players another chance to redeem themselves, All Blacks coach Ian Foster reverted to arguably his strongest lineup against the Pumas, who have not played a test since their final pool game in Japan last year.
The news got worse for Mario Ledesma’s side when All Blacks captain Sam Cane indicated on Friday the South Americans could expect a backlash at Western Sydney Stadium.
“We weren’t overly proud of last week’s performance,” Cane told reporters. “Based off the way we’ve trained this week, the group has been pretty clinical.
“We’ll be going out looking to put in a much improved performance and one we can be proud of.
“I don’t feel I have to motivate the team as such to play well because they’ve got a bit of an edge about them already.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury Editing by Robert Birsel
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