New Zealand's first home series defeat for 28 years piles the pressure on All Blacks head coach Ian Foster after his side were again outplayed by Ireland in Saturday's third test.
Despite a three-try fightback by the All Blacks after half-time, a 32-22 victory in Wellington for the Irish meant the visitors took the series 2-1 after bouncing back from a comprehensive first Test defeat in Auckland a fortnight ago with a 23-12 win in Dunedin last weekend.
That result had been Ireland's first win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil. Saturday's second in Wellington inflicted a first home Test series defeat since 1994, when France won 2-0.
Asked if he was still the right man to take New Zealand forward, Foster replied: "I'm only here to talk about the game".
"We have to analyse this series, we had a number of disruptions to our original plans," the All Blacks coach said, having been sidelined with several players and staff by Covid in the build-up to the first Test.
"We weren't getting enough big moments and we certainly didn't get the starts we wanted," Foster added.
Less than 14 months from the start of the Rugby World Cup in France, this was Foster's seventh defeat in 24 internationals since taking charge in 2020.
Previous losses to Ireland and France on their European tour last autumn, mean the All Blacks have won just one of their last five games, leaving pundits in New Zealand questioning whether Foster can hang on to his job ahead of two Tests in South Africa next month.
"New Zealanders have to realise this is a very good Irish team and give them some credit," Foster said, when asked about the expected backlash from All Blacks fans.
"For us, we will keep working on solutions and executing them better.
"We'll go away and look at things, we had a number of new people who were exposed to what I think was a very intense Test series for us, which we haven't had for a while. No doubts we will have to roll our sleeves up."