All Blacks only looking forward

The All Blacks say they were only looking forward to the World Cup and their blockbuster opener against hosts France and had put last week’s crushing loss to South Africa behind them.

New Zealand are settling into the World Cup base near Lyon for a campaign that starts against the hosts at Stade de France on Friday.

After 11 straight wins, they lost their last warm-up game 35-7 to the Springboks.

“It’s a beautiful day out there,” said coach Ian Foster as he fielded a third straight question on the mauling at Twickenham.

“I woke up really happy this morning, went for a lovely walk and now you ask me about that again.”

“First lesson: have 15 men on the field,” he added. “If we have 15 against 15 I’m very confident.”

“Whilst we didn’t like the Twickenham result it was the tough warm-up game we wanted. It highlighted some areas. What we learned was we’re pretty vulnerable when we’re a man down against lineout mauls.”

The All Blacks insisted the defeat could end up helping them.

“What we got at Twickenham was very disappointing, we can turn that into a gift and take those learnings and use it.” said back Anton Lienert-Brown, who came on for the last 18 minutes at Twickenham.


Foster also saw the game as an education.

“If you look at that game with the number of changes, the cards, the injuries, playing the South Africans one man down with seven young players on the park a man down, it was a great learning curve,” the coach said.

“It hasn’t required a reset, just required us to get into the next phase of our preparation.”

After the defeat, the All Blacks travelled to Germany for a training camp before coming to France.

“Now it’s all in the distant past and we’re just getting excited about round one and then round two and then round three and then round four and round five.”

After kicking off against France, the All Blacks face group games against Italy, Namibia and Uruguay.


“There’s going to be 90 000 fans screaming for France,” said hooker Codie Taylor. “What a place to start the competition.”

Captain Sam Cane said his team must relish the atmosphere.

“If we just realise it will be an awesome occasion and get excited by it and however loud, we’ll just feed off that energy and just enjoy it,” he said.

Foster insisted he was looking past the opener.

“Teams have to grow through this tournament,” he said. “I know we all want to present ourselves as at the peak of our powers at the start. 

“You want to be there at the end, and to do that you need to be better at the end.”

Foster said victory in the opener might not be crucial as the top two teams in the group will be paired with the top two in Group B which contains South Africa, Ireland and Scotland.

“It doesn’t change a lot when you look at the other pool for the crossover,” said Foster, but the objective is “always to finish first. I like to keep things simple.” Reuters.

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