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Boks confident ahead of All Blacks clash

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on September 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:13s

Boks confident ahead of All Blacks clash

Rugby rivals South Africa and New Zealand play their opening match of the Rugby World Cup in Japan on Saturday.

Maha Albadrawi reports.

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Boks confident ahead of All Blacks clash

The All Blacks are gearing up to face the Springboks in this Saturday's (September 21) Rugby World Cup Pool B opening match.

The three-time World Cup Champions have spent the last week training in Tokyo, and the importance of Saturday's match is top of mind, says assistant coach Ian Foster.

(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?..

We're at a heightened state always when we play South Africa so 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." Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has called for a strong performance from match officials at Saturday's opener, suggesting that New Zealand are treated favorably at World Cup appearances.

Two-time World Cup champions South Africa showing confidence in their performance, tweeting: "Boks ready for @AllBlacks challenge.

New mindset to eradicate the gap.

If the individual is better, then the team will be better.

In their three most recent face-offs, each team won a match by a two-point lead.

They then drew in the third, meaning that it looks like the opening game to one of rugby's biggest rivalries could be decided by a small margin.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ALL BLACKS HALFBACK, AARON SMITH, SAYING: "Obviously the magnitude of the game, the excitement around it... It's there... We've been a week or so already, it's all talk about, we've all been prepping to get to Saturday and, yeah, I'm just really glad it's finally here this, a test week."

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