It’s going to go down to the wire – Foster

Date published: October 20 2015

New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster expects a physical battle that will go down to the wire when the All Blacks face the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday.

Australia managed to edge Scotland 35-34 in a hard-fought battle on Sunday that could have gone either way, but most of the fallout has centred around the decision made by referee Craig Joubert in the 77th minute, when he awarded a penalty that should have been a scrum.

As a result Bernard Foley scored the winning points that left Scotland fuming as a poor decision by Joubert ended their Rugby World Cup campaign.

The men in black however say that this proves that they cannot leave their Rugby World Cup fate in the hands of the referee.

"That showed us if the game's tight at the end anything can happen," said Foster.

Foster expects a tight battle against the Boks in what should be another thrilling encounter.

"It's semi-finals and it's going to come down to the wire, we know that, and we're just going to do everything we can this week to prepare well and control what we can control."

The mighty All Blacks thrashed France 62-13 in the quarter-final with a memorable display of running rugby, which left the French embarrassed to say the least.

Although the All Blacks broke their French curse, their main focus is beating the Boks on Saturday.

"Whilst we've all received a bit of a pat on the back for what happened against France, it means nothing now. It's back to square one," Foster said.

"The challenge is very obvious, we all know it and we've just got to make sure the full stop we've put on France stays there and we start from zero again."

All Black flanker Sam Cane says that the stakes are higher and that key moments will decide the outcome.

"Obviously there's a lot riding on the game so the intensity will be right up there," said Cane.

"It'll be some fine margins in key moments that are likely to decide it."

This weekend will be a bruising encounter and Foster believes that the All Black medical team will play a vital role in ensuring that the players are fully prepared to face the men in green and gold.

"We try to measure it. We talk a lot to the medical side of our team to see where and when we can do that just to make sure we have a hit," Foster said.

"Clearly you can't walk totally away from it because Saturday against South Africa, physicality is going to be top of the list."