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All Blacks 'at a heightened state' ahead of first clash against South Africa

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on September 17, 2019 - Duration: 00:53s

All Blacks 'at a heightened state' ahead of first clash against South Africa

All Blacks' assistant coach Ian Foster says his side are in a "heightened state" for their opening World Cup game against South Africa.

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All Blacks 'at a heightened state' ahead of first clash against South Africa

SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALL BLACKS ASSISTANT COACH, IAN FOSTER, SAYING: "We're at a heightened state always when we play South Africa so I think, you know, I know it's the World Cup and I know the World Cup is big but I guess our focus has been on this game for a while." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALL BLACKS ASSISTANT COACH, IAN FOSTER, SAYING: "We're actually not thinking too far ahead in this tournament right now because this weekend is a pretty big weekend, isn't it?

And it's kind of made it really good for us as coaches because we can just put all our energy into that first game.

And whichever way it goes then I guess we can sort out the plan that we follow after that." 4.

LOOSE FORWARD ARDIE SAVEA TRAINING WITH BALL 5.

ALL BLACKS COACH STEVE HANSEN WALKING ON FIELD / PLAYERS TRAINING STORY: Forget the World Cup, we're at a "heightened state" whenever we play South Africa, said All Blacks' assistant coach Ian Foster at a news conference on Tuesday (September 17) in Tokyo.

Having had time to adjust to the Japanese weather and culture, the Kiwis resumed training on a rugby pitch in Tokyo under the hot sun.

New Zealand are in Pool B and begin defending their title against South Africa on Saturday (September 21), with matches against Canada, Namibia and Italy to follow.

The All Blacks are hoping for a third consecutive title in Japan.

The hotly-anticipated match between the two old rivals on just the second day of the tournament is set to ignite the World Cup and for Foster, the focus is all on the Springboks following their Rugby Championship victory earlier this year.

Under Rassie Erasmus, South Africa have seen a dramatic uptick in form and have only lost once in their last seven matches, including a draw with New Zealand in July.

With Italy, Namibia and Canada the other teams in Pool B, regardless Saturday's result New Zealand and South Africa expect to continue their records of qualifying for the quarter-finals at every World Cup in which they have featured.

(Production: Lucien Libert)

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