Ardie Savea says he backs "my coach" Ian Foster "100 per cent" after New Zealand lifted the gloom with a magnificent 35-23 win over South Africa on Saturday.

Foster may still lose his job as All Blacks head coach despite a thrilling Rugby Championship victory at Ellis Park.

New Zealand opened up a 15-0 lead in the first half, but the world champions came storming back and were in front for the first time with 12 minutes to play.

With Beauden Barrett in the sin bin it looked like the Springboks would extend the All Blacks' losing streak to four matches, but late tries from David Havili and Scott Barrett ensured they stopped the rot and lifted the Freedom Cup.

Foster said he has no idea if he will remain in his role despite the much-needed win, but Savea - who was immense in Johannesburg - is fully behind his embattled head coach.

"This performance was for all of us, but for me, that's my coach, I back him 100 per cent, side by side," said the number eight, who made 13 carries for 58 metres.

"He has been under a lot of pressure, and I know Foz [Foster] 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 per cent. I hope everyone that reads this backs us because we are going to get it."

Asked if Foster deserves to stay on, Savea replied: "Like I said, he's my coach. That's it."

Captain Sam Cane and Samisoni Taukei'aho crossed in the first half, while Richie Mo'unga scored 15 points with the boot for the holders

Savea expressed his pride following another almighty battle at the end of a challenging week.

"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," he 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 go see the family next week."

He added: "There are always doubters, always negativity, but that's okay, because that makes everyone better, and people care. 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."

 

Ireland secured a historic first away win over New Zealand as they defeated the 14-man All Blacks 23-12 in Dunedin on Saturday.

Andy Farrell's visitors found themselves on the wrong end of a comprehensive 42-19 All Blacks victory in the first Test last weekend, but Ireland managed to tie the series.

They were seemingly given a helping hand by the first-half dismissal of New Zealand prop Angus Ta'avao for a head clash with Ireland centre Garry Ringrose.

Ireland were already 10-0 to the good by that point thanks to Andrew Porter charging over early on, before Johnny Sexton – a controversial starter after failing an in-game head injury assessment last time out – added the extras and later scored a long-distance penalty.

The All Blacks did well to only trail by three points at the interval, with Beauden Barrett's converted try right at the end of a pulsating first half frustrating Ireland.

The 10-point advantage was restored by Porter's second try following great work by Bundee Aki down the right, and Sexton's conversion and two more penalties had Ireland 23-7 to the good.

Will Jordan crossed for New Zealand near the end, but it was too little, too late as Ireland sealed a famous win.

Ardie Savea bagged a double as New Zealand overcame a difficult week of preparations to swat aside Ireland with a 42-19 win in the first Test in Auckland.

The All Blacks overcame a nervy start against Andy Farrell's visitors to gradually, and then ruthlessly, impose themselves upon proceedings at Eden Park.

Ireland, who lost influential fly-half Johnny Sexton half-an-hour in after he failed a head injury assessment, had arrived for their three-game tour looking to back up victory in November with a first win in New Zealand.

An early try for Keith Earls looked to represent the perfect start for them, particularly against a home team whose build-up had been ransacked by a COVID-19 outbreak, requiring ex-Ireland boss Joe Schmidt to step into their coaching ranks.

But a barnstorming run by debutant Leicester Fainga’anuku helped get Jordie Barrett over the line in response, sparking a fluid All Blacks passage, with finishes for Sevu Reece, Quinn Tupaea and Savea setting a 28-5 advantage at the break.

Garry Ringrose responded after the interval to give Ireland hope, but a superb solo second for Savea sealed the game,before Pita Gus Sowakula crossed for a try on debut and Bundee Aki nabbed a late consolation finish in the closing stages.

The Crusaders made it two wins from two games to start the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season with a 33-16 victory over the Hurricanes in Christchurch on Sunday.

The 2019 Super Rugby champions trailed 6-0 early but capitalised on Ardie Savea's sin binning to pile on 33 unanswered points to race away with an emphatic victory which underlined their title credentials.

The Crusaders finished with five tries to two, led by All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor who scored a double, while he set up Richie Mo'unga (four conversions) for his try.

Flanker Ethan Blackadder and lock Scott Barrett also touched down before half-time as the hosts opened up a 26-6 lead at the break.

After Taylor's second try in the 46th minute, the Hurricanes pulled one back thanks to Ricky Riccitelli with steady rain falling in the second half.

Will Jordan was disallowed a try for the Crusaders after he was unable to ground the ball cleanly.

Moments later the Hurricanes went down the other end to add respectability to the score with Peter Umaga-Jensen scampering over in the corner.

"It wasn't a complete performance but we can be happy with the result nonetheless," Crusaders captain Barrett told Sky TV.

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