Bledisloe Cup 2020: All Blacks hadn't practiced for late-game drop goal, says coach Ian Foster

All Blacks coach Ian Foster believes his side's "frantic" approach in the final stages of Sunday's Bledisloe Cup nailbiter likely cost them the chance to set up for a potential game-winning drop goal.

With the scores tied at 16-16 and time expired, the All Blacks were in the shadow of the Australian goalposts, with a decisive drop goal beckoning, but they opted to keep the ball in hand and ultimately made a match-ending handling error.

With an opportunity to reflect, Foster says he would have liked to see his side show more patience and set a better foundation for a shot at the posts - although his team had yet to practice for a drop-goal situation.

"In hindsight, the right decision would've been to just slow that down a bit, because we were right under the goalposts, a half a metre out," he says.

"We had a chance to regroup, get more forwards on their feet and then make the decision.

"We had some strong carries and I would've been quite happy with a ball-in-hand approach with the 10 sitting in behind or 15, and if they saw the moment, then take it."

Preparation for late-game drop goals typically comes later during a camp, Foster claims.

First-five Richie Mo'unga positioned himself for a drop goal and while he may have been a victim of the chaos of the moment, he believes the team were well poised to cross the chalk.

"There were a couple of times I dropped into the pocket, but we had momentum and we looked likely to score, so a drop kick wasn’t in the question, because we were going forward,"  insists Mo'unga.

"I was in position to take one, but the call was for the forwards to just pick through the middle. 

"Could I have had a better voice? Maybe, but when you’re in like that, it's a bit hectic and everyone wants the ball. 

"There were opportunities everywhere."

Foster still has the utmost confidence in his "decision-makers", whom he believes have learnt plenty from the experience.

"This is our first game together and we got put into that one pressure moment right at the end," he says. "I thought both teams showed a bit of rustiness in that regard and that's probably why the game got so frantic.

"Jordie [Barrett] was screaming for the ball on one side, because there was a clear opportunity, but perhaps what he didn't quite see was we had forwards at halfback. 

"We didn't have a nine in there to give him a crisp pass, so was it the best option? Probably not.

"Did we have a chance to chill that down and keep doing what we were doing, and get Richie or Jordie in behind? Yes, we did, so we've got to learn from that.

"You just have to rely on your key decision-makers and at the end of the day, we didn't quite get it right and we end up splitting the pie in half."

Despite Australia claiming clear advantages in territory and possession, and earning plaudits for their reinvigorated approach under new coach Dave Rennie, Foster didn't see much tactical difference to Wallabies teams of old.

"I dont think it's a considerable change," Foster notes. "We spoke about a high-tempo, ruck-and-run-type game and I think we saw that.

"Conditions probably narrowed things down for both teams. There are probably things coming from them and there certainly are for us too.

As far as Foster is concerned, there are plenty of encouraging signs for his team to build on for the second test at Eden Park on Sunday, where ball security and possession are key areas he wants to see improve.

"What's going to do the business for this All Blacks team next weekend is learning from a draw," he says.

"Take the good stuff out - which there was a considerable amount of - and make sure we don't lose sight of that, but we actually have to grow some other parts of our game too.

"We've got to make sure we can get a bit of ball and start imposing ourselves on them.  It was a little bit one-way traffic in terms of possession and not something we want to see repeated.

"Possession is not always the best indicator, but I think it swung too far their way in that particular game, so we need to make sure we get what we need."