Rugby World Cup: Coach Ian Foster's warning for All Blacks fans before opener against France

Coach Ian Foster is urging fans not to panic if the All Blacks aren't at their best in their mouthwatering World Cup opener against hosts France on Sunday (NZ time).

The team's ultimate goal is a fourth title, and Foster's made it clear he wants his side to grow into the tournament, rather than peak first up.

"I know we all want to present ourselves at the peak of our powers at the start, and we’re all trying to do that, but it's how we grow through it," Foster said. 

"You want to be there at the end, and to do that you've got to get better each day."

The same can be said for the next six days before their opener against France, with the winner of that match likely to top pool A. 

Captain Sam Cane.
Captain Sam Cane. Photo credit: Getty Images

Although finishing first or second clearly isn’t phasing Foster. 

"It doesn’t change a lot when you look at the other pool, for the crossover," he noted.  

That’s because regardless of whether the All Blacks finish first or second, their quarter-final opponents will likely be one of South Africa, Ireland or even Scotland.  

Those are all incredibly daunting assignments in themselves but are some weeks away yet.  

Their most immediate task - overcoming the hostilities of Stade de France. 

 "I don’t know if we can fully appreciate what it’ll be,"said captain Sam Can. "But if we just get excited by it, however loud, we’ll just feed off that energy."

France has already been an emotional visit for Tamaiti Williams. 

During the team’s recent visit to the gravesites of Kiwi soldiers in Arras, Williams learned he had a great great grandfather who fought there.  

"I had a little tear with my mum," said Williams.

Williams was able to walk in the same tunnels and get some timely perspective before his own mission in France.  

"For my great great grandfather to do that over this side of the world, it gives me a better image of who I am and where I come from," he said.

 Williams will now be looking to follow in his great grandfather's footsteps and make his own mark in France.

Join Newshub at 7am Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v France World Cup opener