Eden Park no magic formula, says Foster

The All Blacks have turned Eden Park into a fortress over the past two decades.

But assistant coach Ian Foster says their long run of success there won’t provide a magic formula when they attempt to retain the Bledisloe Cup against Australia this weekend.

New Zealand haven’t lost at the Auckland ground since 1994, when France scored their “try from the end of the world” to snatch a famous 23-20 victory.

Since then, there has been an 18-18 draw against South Africa, followed by 33 consecutive victories.

Their unbeaten record against Australia stretches back further – their last loss to their trans-Tasman rivals at Eden Park was in 1986, and they have since strung together 15 wins, including a 51-20 demolition 12 months ago.

But Foster says the All Blacks know they can’t simply turn up on Saturday night.

“(The Wallabies) put a pretty good marker down in Sydney and we have to respond regardless of where we play,” he said.

“Certainly, Eden Park is not a magic formula for us by any means. If we take any part of our performance for granted, we’re going to suffer.”

Foster described the stadium as special and one where the All Blacks enjoyed playing.

“But in some ways, that puts us under more pressure to respect the ground and what it has meant to this team in the past.”

The All Blacks name their match 23 on Thursday morning and Foster said selection would again be a balancing act, with the Test the last before the World Cup squad is chosen.

“We’ve had a plan through this little window and we want to make sure we give the people who need opportunity the opportunity,” he said.

“We still believe we’re on path for the bigger picture for the season, but we want to win the Bledisloe, so we’ve got those two things that we’re balancing up.”

One player who hasn’t featured in the four Tests so far is winger Cory Jane, who is back in the selection frame.

Jane, who has 53 caps, battled leg injuries late in the Super Rugby season and was released by the All Blacks selectors to play for the Barbarians against the Maori All Blacks last month, only to damage an ankle.

Foster said Jane was ahead of schedule in his recovery when he joined the All Blacks last week, was at nearly 100 per cent at the weekend and trained fully on Tuesday.

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