26 Sep 2015

All Blacks to reduce rotation

7:20 pm on 26 September 2015

New Zealand will field its strongest possible team throughout the rest of the Rugby World Cup, All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster says.

Steve Hansen (R) with Ian Foster

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, right, with assistant coach Ian Foster are planning to reduce the team's rotation. Photo: Photosport

All but two of New Zealand's 31 players have had a run in the first two matches and selectors are expected to cut down on player rotation for the final two pool games against Georgia and Tonga.

Foster said the All Blacks' coaches needed to ensure combinations were given the chance to gel and that top players were match-fit for the knockout stages.

"That's certainly the plan. It's been nice we haven't had to make too many adjustments to that through injury. There's probably a few bodies we may have to manage but overall our plan is to go in and get a bit more cohesion in the last two games, " Foster said.

"It's tough when you get into the latter part of pool play and we're starting to narrow things down.

"There are guys who are good enough to play that won't be playing and we manage that with honest conversations and high expectations that people carry on working hard."

One All Black yet to make an appearance at the tournament is rookie winger Waisake Naholo.

Waisake Naholo on the burst during his test debut against Argentina.

Waisake Naholo on the burst during his test debut against Argentina. Photo: Photosport

With only one test cap under his belt, Naholo was selected in New Zealand's tournament team even though he was still recovering from a broken leg and unable to play.

When naming the World Cup squad, however, selectors made it clear that Naholo would be fit to play in the All Blacks' third pool game against Georgia, next Saturday in Cardiff.

Flanker Liam Messam may also make the 'Cardiff 23'.

Messam was named to play Namibia but was replaced in the side after he pulled up at training with a sore calf.

Many All Blacks who have been labelled second stringers by the media started in the Namibia match, which the All Blacks won 58-14.

At nine tries to one, the victory was not as comfortable as the score line suggested - with the New Zealanders given few chances to build momentum in a second half blighted by scrum resets and stoppages.

Foster said his players were bored by the stop-start nature of the win over Namibia.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster. Photo: Photosport

Frustrated at not being able to use their superior skills and conditioning to play the game at pace, errors and inaccuracies crept into the All Blacks' performance.

Foster said his players needed to learn how to combat slow tactics.

"When the game got slow and we were trying to make things up, that's when we lost our form and our patience," he said.

"If (teams) think that's a tactic that's going to work against us, they're going to keep trying it, so if it does slow down, we've got to be better at dealing with it."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.