New All Blacks coach Ian Foster has shared what he believes went wrong for the team at last year's Rugby World Cup, admitting they looked "surprised" by England's intensity in their semi-final defeat.
Foster reflected on the loss on Sky Sports' The Breakdown last night, saying there were changes needed to the team to ensure they aren't caught off gaurd again like they were in Japan.
"There are a few things in our environment that we do need to re-shape," Foster said.
"We need to figure out how to play teams physically when they play us physically. More and more teams are wanting to prevent us from playing."
England suffocated the All Blacks in the 19-7 win in Yokohama, rushing the dual-playmaker system New Zealand had implemented for the tournament with their defensive line and not allowing them to play their natural, free-flowing style.
The All Blacks were held to just one try in the contest and in contrast, they scored seven tries against Ireland in the quarter-final and six against Wales in the bronze medal match.
Foster, who took over from Steve Hansen as the All Blacks coach after the failed campaign, said the team's inability to adjust to the unique challenges and playing style England presented in the semi-final was what cost them a shot at a third-straight title.
"When we get our game right, when we understand the nature of the beast we're playing – we got up for South Africa, we got up for Ireland – I thought they were outstanding games. But we didn't get up for England.
"We didn't define that challenge well enough. They played us a certain way, and it looked like it surprised us, even though it shouldn't have. We've got to figure out how we approach that type of challenge. Some of the physicality of our game, and where we use it, needs addressing."
However, Foster said he would use the experience as a positive moving forward.
"Nobody in the playing group had lost a World Cup game," Foster said. "Now we know what it feels like, and it's not nice. That's got to fuel this next generation.
"We want to be No.1, and we're not, and it hurt."