Reaction from Gregor Paul of the same newspaper suggested that New Zealand were now in “red flag territory”.
“Beyond doubt now is that the All Blacks are clearly in a rut. They can’t string together 80-minute performances and they don’t seem to be able to kick-start themselves into action until they are looking at something desperate on the scoreboard,” Paul said.
“Ireland have played with the speed, vision and daring that the All Blacks used to, and currently want to, but simply don’t have all the nuts and pieces to get it right.”
Marc Hinton, writing for stuffwas similarly despondent, adding that a coaching change has to come into consideration.
“It’s not just that the fear factor, or whatever it was they once held over their opponents, has gone. Truth be told it probably disappeared last November in the north.
“But so poor is this side performing, so lacking in answers are they when put under anything resembling pressure, something has to be done. What is it they say? The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over again.
“What are the answers? Well a coaching change must now be considered, at the very least. Ian Foster’s hold on his job must be tenuous at best. NZ Rugby’s board owe it to their people to dig deep on this.”
In the New Zealand camp
Foster’s position is certainly under immense scrutiny with a poor autumn campaign backed up by series defeat. Scott Robertson, a perennial winner as head coach of the Crusaders, is the leading candidate to replace Foster if a drastic change is made just over a year away from the World Cup.
In a statement released by Mark Robinson, the New Zealand Rugby chief executive, the loss was branded “not acceptable”.
“We all know there is a huge amount of work to do,” Robinson said. “Our focus now is to work with Ian and his team to understand thoroughly in advance of the Rugby Championship what is needed to improve performance and where to from here. We will begin this work immediately.”
Foster refused to discuss his future after the defeat while All Blacks captain Sam Cane credited Ireland and said they deserved to win.
“I just want to talk about the Test match,” Foster told reporters. “New Zealanders have probably got to realize that this was a very good Irish team.”