New Zealand coach Ian Foster has admitted he is under huge scrutiny given the form they are currently in but is confident of coming to South Africa to turn their fortunes around.

The Springboks will welcome the All Blacks for the start of the 2022/23 Rugby Championship next month, which will see two Tests played at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit (6 August) and Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg (13 August).

Foster’s job has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks after New Zealand suffered a 2-1 series defeat to Ireland on home soil, after also losing two previous tests away to France and Ireland in their Northern Tour in November last year, taking their form to five losses in six matches.

“Look, there’s no doubt I’m under pressure but can I just say, I’m always under pressure and I’ve always felt that pressure. External people will try to intensify that pressure but it doesn’t change the fact that, as an All Black coach, you live in that world all the time,” Foster said during a press conference in Auckland.

“Does it hurt? Yes, it does. The key thing for me is that everything I do is about ensuring that we have robust processes to make sure we have the right people sitting in the right seats.”

Speaking on the recent spate of results, the 57-year-old mentor conceded that changes are necessary for them to get the desired results and they hope to achieve this during the opening two matches of the Championship against the reigning World Champions.

“We are never happy when we don’t achieve what we want to. We understand the fans aren’t happy with that but you have a promise that we are looking forward to getting stuck into our work, and going to play in this Rugby Championship in South Africa, a game of rugby that New Zealanders can be proud of,” he added.

“I’ve heard there does need to be some change for us to achieve that, and right now I am working behind the scenes to achieve that. You can ask me 100 times what that is but I won’t be able to give you that answer just yet. I’d like you to bear with me but we’ve got things in place right now and I’ll let you know as soon as possible of a couple of changes.”

New Zealand’s squad for South Africa:

Forwards:
Hookers

Dane Coles (35, Hurricanes / Wellington, 81)
Samisoni Taukeiaho (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 11)
Codie Taylor (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 69)

Props

Aidan Ross (26, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 1)
George Bower (30, Crusaders / Otago, 14)
Nepo Laulala (30, Blues / Counties Manukau, 41)
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (30, Blues / Northland, 47)
Ethan de Groot (23, Highlanders / Southland, 4)
Angus Ta’avao (32, Chiefs / Auckland, 22)

Locks

Scott Barrett (28, Crusaders / Taranaki, 50)
Brodie Retallick (31, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 95)
Patrick Tuipulotu (29, Blues / Auckland, 42)
Tupou Vaa’i (22, Chiefs / Taranaki, 12)
Samuel Whitelock (33, Crusaders / Canterbury, 134)

Loose Forwards

Sam Cane – Captain (30, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 80)
Shannon Frizell (28, Highlanders / Tasman, 17)
Akira Ioane (27, Blues / Auckland, 14)
Dalton Papalii (24, Blues / Counties Manukau, 15)
Ardie Savea (28, Hurricanes / Wellington, 62)
Hoskins Sotutu (24, Blues / Counties Manukau, 10)

Backs:
Halfbacks

Finlay Christie (26, Blues / Tasman, 6)
Folau Fakatava (22, Highlanders / Hawke’s Bay, 2)
Aaron Smith (33, Highlanders / Manawatu, 105)

First five-eighths

Beauden Barrett (31, Blues / Taranaki, 104)
Richie Mo’unga (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 35)
Stephen Perofeta (25, Blues / Taranaki *)

Midfielders

Jack Goodhue (27, Crusaders / Northland, 18)
David Havili (27, Crusaders / Tasman, 16)
Rieko Ioane (25, Blues / Auckland, 50)
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (29, Blues / Auckland, 1)
Quinn Tupaea (23, Chiefs / Waikato, 9)

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett (25, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 39)
Caleb Clarke (23, Blues / Auckland, 5)
Leicester Fainga’anuku (22, Crusaders / Tasman, 2)
Will Jordan (24, Crusaders / Tasman, 15)
Sevu Reece (25, Crusaders / Tasman, 20)

Replacement players travelling to South Africa:

Josh Dickson (27, Highlanders / Otago, *)
Braydon Ennor (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 5)
Tyrel Lomax (26, Hurricanes / Tasman, 14)

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