Lock Patrick Tuipulotu says the All Blacks want a win against Argentina this weekend to silence the “haters” who targeted coach Ian Foster after their shock loss to Los Pumas.
Tuipulotu said the players owed Foster a strong performance in Saturday’s Tri-Nations clash after the coach bore the brunt of criticism for the 25-15 defeat on November 14, which followed a loss to Australia the previous week.
“The coach is the face of the squad and is always going to get the blame if we lose two in a row,” the Blues tight forward told a conference call.
“It’s on us to get a result and perform well so that when he’s in the firing line it’s for good stuff, from a good win.
“It is what it is in this day and age – you’re going to get a lot of haters, as we call them.”
Foster is enduring a difficult start to his tenure after taking the top job this year, with Argentina’s maiden win over the All Blacks consigning the New Zealanders to back-to-back losses for the first time since 2011.
The three-time world champions have notoriously demanding fans and some have called for Foster’s axing after only five matches in charge.
All Blacks skipper Sam Cane last week labelled the critics “brutal” and suggested they were ignorant about rugby.
Second rower Sam Whitelock was more conciliatory on Monday, saying everyone was entitled to their opinion.
“I look at very little media and social media stuff because as a younger player I would read it and it used to get me up and down,” he said.
“People are allowed to have their opinions, that’s what makes New Zealanders so passionate about rugby… but I try not to read it.”
Tuipulotu expected Argentina would attempt to physically impose themselves during Saturday’s match in Newcastle and provoke the disciplinary lapses that proved costly for the All Blacks in their recent defeats.
“There’s always going to be that sort of niggle, the hardest thing is to walk away but that’s sometimes what you have to do,” he said.
“In the heat of battle it gets very hard and tense. We know we’re going to get it but we just need to move on to the next job to get the result we want.”