Ian Foster said he would sit down with some popcorn to enjoy seeing who New Zealand will face in the World Cup final after they thrashed Argentina on Friday.
After the All Blacks crushed the Argentinians 44-6 in a seven-try masterclass at the Stade de France, Foster insisted he had no preference between reigning champions South Africa and England, who face each other on Saturday in the other semi-final.
“I’ll be watching it, have some popcorn. But I don’t care who wins,” Foster said. “We’re very much in a ‘focus about ourselves’ stage at the moment.
“South Africa have been playing some brilliant rugby but we’ve also seen an English team that has built quietly. It will be an interesting contrast of styles.
“The extra day gives us a chance to have a break mentally,” Foster said.
He said his side had put themselves where they want to be. “It’s everything. It’s the goal. We came here wanting to be in the final and then we obviously want to go and win it. We have given ourselves that opportunity,” Foster said.
The All Blacks coach had faced intense criticism coming into this World Cup after his side suffered a record loss to South Africa before the tournament, and those voices grew louder when host nation France beat them 27-13 in the opening game of this tournament.
He relished the question of whether he had proved his critics wrong by reaching the final, returning twice to the subject to carefully frame his answer.
“I am just proud to be part of this group, there is no personal agenda here,” he said. “Things have happened to individuals and to me, but the team comes first. Right now we’re making a lot of those decisions together as a group and it is working well.
“When it comes down to it, all the decisions we make have to be about the team… it’s about the All Blacks, the team comes first.”
Captain Sam Cane said the squad had grown accustomed to “blocking out outside noise”, and he took great pride in the team peaking just at the right time.
“We focus on what’s important in the group. We trust the coaching staff immensely, we trust the plan,” he said. “We are a very different team now. We’ve had players coming back. It feels like we have built nicely to this point.”
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP