Former All Black questions improvement in the side

Former All Black Ant Strachan says Ian Foster's assessment of the team's latest defeat will only aid to further rile disgruntled fans.

The New Zealand side have now lost five of their last six, and will fall to an all-time low of fifth in the world rankings after a lack-lustre 26-10 defeat to South Africa on Sunday morning (NZ time).

Despite the All Blacks again failing to fire, the under pressure head coach called the performance their "best of the season in many ways".

Strachan simply described Foster's comments as "interesting".

"You'd have to argue in the first test against the Irish at Eden Park we saw some good stuff from the All Blacks.

"[But] they had their poor moments, as well, and then of course the two tests that followed were not good from our perspective.

"So improved performance, or their best performance? It's really hard to quantify, so probably a comment that will rile a few."

The latest loss had heaped even further heat on Foster, with many speculating this weekend's second test in Johannesburg was his last chance to save his job.

Asked if he thought it was time for a clean slate at the helm, Strachan offered a different perspective on the debate.

"Some weeks ago I had that thought [a coaching change was needed] but when the players come out and they almost unanimously support the coaching staff, that's a pretty powerful voice.

"Some would misconstrue that and say the players are just protecting their jobs but there is a genuine feeling amongst those players, and I know quite a few of them, that the crew they've got now is the way forward.

"It's a really tough one. One more test and you've just got to sit back and hope the team can improve going into Ellis Park ... then absolutely we'll find out what the next direction will look like."

Not that he didn't understand those arguing for Foster to be replaced as head coach.

Strachan said the case for a shake up could well be made if the All Blacks can't produce a hugely improved performance in the second test.

"Sometimes when that trend continues for a period of time, flatlining or stagnating to a point, something drastic does have to happen to change it."

Based on the evidence of the last six tests, that may be what transpired.

Strachan said while all good things came to an end, including the All Blacks longheld dominance, he couldn't remember the team being at such a low in his lifetime.

"We're just getting beaten up far too regularly.

"The call now is potentially we need to go back to square one and start again ... to create that next legacy you've got to start from somewhere, and at the moment they're going sideways."