New Zealand aware of extra time demands

Date published: October 23 2019 - David Skippers

New Zealand will make sure they are aware of all the possibilities should the result not be achieved after 80 minutes of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against England.

That was the word from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and lock Sam Whitelock ahead of the do-or-die showdown in Yokohama.

If no winner had emerged after full-time and two periods of extra time, a penalty goal shootout would be required.

And given the dramatic conclusion to the Cricket World Cup involving the two countries, and a method of countback of boundaries hit in the game which was abandoned immediately after the tournament, it was no surprise the subject should be raised ahead of Saturday’s game.

Hansen said he was sure that by the time all the time periods had been played out someone would have scored because there would be so many tired players.

Whitelock said he knew it would be a tough contest. The All Blacks were well into their preparation and enjoyed a good training session in the rain on Tuesday. He was excited about the week, he said.

They had come down off the high of beating Ireland in a full on game to advance and they were building nicely into the week.

Whitelock said the times he had played against them they had shown that they had a great forward pack and were capable of playing a couple of different styles.

“It’s something that teams that are hard to play against have a couple of different styles and they can change within a game of what style they play. They might play expansive or hide the ball away so we’ve just got to be ready for what they throw at us and I’m sure they’ll trying to look at our game and see any weaknesses,” he explained.

Playing England in a knockout game at a World Cup would be massive and one of the biggest games the players concerned would be involved in.

“How good is being involved in a knockout game at the World Cup? You’ve got to be ready to go, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing,” added Whitelock. “You hope that mentally and physically you’re in the best space you possibly can be.

“Every game that I have been involved in is always a challenge. I think if any games were easier a lot of the boys wouldn’t enjoy it as much.”