Rugby: Wales win sees All Blacks start to find consistency after uncharacteristic poor start to 2022 season

After a 2022 season that can be described as up and down at best, the All Blacks are finally starting to find the consistency of old, after Sunday's 55-23 victory against Wales.

Despite starting the campaign with a maiden series defeat to Ireland, then suffering losses away to South Africa and at home to Argentina - another first - the Cardiff win was the All Blacks' fifth in succession.

The team's form saw coach Ian Foster's place called into question, before a backs-to-the-wall win at Johannesburg saw him backed to lead the side to the 2023 World Cup in France.

After moving on from their woes earlier this year, Foster claims his side aren't the finished product.

"I don't think it's motivated the team," Foster said. "We took some pretty tough lessons early on.

"We weren't ready physically or mentally after Super Rugby for that Irish series. We were well beaten, it's been pretty well documented.

"Since then, we've used it [as motivation]. There's a few players we held back from that series, who've come in and made a big difference.

"There's been some nice building blocks with the future in mind. We're still building.

"We're not there yet. We've been tagged with inconsistency, but I guess that's five [wins] in a row.

"We're starting to build what we want to build."

Dalton Papali'i against Wales.
Dalton Papali'i against Wales. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Up next, the All Blacks travel north to face Scotland at Murrayfield, before finishing their northern tour against England at Twickenham.

Thankfully for Foster, the All Blacks will leave Wales unscathed, with no injury concerns to any players.

A clean bill of health for the side will be a huge relief for the All Blacks coaches, after losing captain Sam Cane and Dane Coles to injury after last week's win over Japan, and Brodie Retallick to suspension after a red card.

"We've come through pretty good, which is pleasing," he continued. "[It was] the first of three tests, you like to get away with no injuries.

"We didn't dodge that bullet last week, and it whacked us with Sammy and Colesy, and with Brodie. To come through this week was important.

"We had a couple of guys playing in the All Blacks XV. They went well and they've come back.

"We might release one or two more to play the Barbarians."

Aaron Smith against Wales.
Aaron Smith against Wales. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

"We're in pretty good shape. We've got an eight-day turnaround [heading] back up to Scotland, where a lot of our guys haven't been for a long time.

"Some of them have never played at Murrayfield. It's going to be a new experience for us in many ways.

"We'll get excited about that in a couple of days. For now, we're going to enjoy [this win].

"It meant a lot for us to play well here."