Rugby World Cup: Ian Foster writes off All Blacks' record defeat to South Africa as France await in tournament opener

Now less than 24 hours out from a blockbuster clash against hosts France to open the Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks say they hold no scars from a record defeat to South Africa two weeks previous.   

Last month, the All Blacks were humiliated at Twickenham, beaten 35-7 as the all-time worst scoreline for a New Zealand men's side.   

However, that loss came with caveats - seeing lock Scott Barrett sent off for two yellow cards, while first choice tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax didn't make halftime after a nasty cut saw him make way.   

Since then, the All Blacks have completed their preparations for France 2023 away from the public eye in Germany, before relocating to Lyon and then Paris for Saturday morning's (NZ time) opener. 

Ian Foster.
Ian Foster. Photo credit: Getty Images

In the past year, Foster's All Blacks have made a point of rebounding from defeats with emphatic victories. In August 2022, a 26-10 defeat to the Springboks in Mbombela was followed by a 35-23 win at Ellis Park.   

Weeks later, a shock 25-18 loss to Argentina in Christchurch resulted in a 53-3 trouncing of the same opposition in the following test.   

But now having to rebound from another low - in what will likely be the toughest ask of the tournament's pool stage - Foster said the loss to the Springboks holds no weight over his team.    

"I don't think there's a point to prove, in relation to that game," said Foster. "We're always disappointed, we don't like losing.   

"The injuries and the cards caused it to be a very disruptive performance. How much we take out of that is critical.   

"It hasn't altered our trajectory, we don't believe. It was a game stuck in the middle of a break for us - we think we needed it.   

"I've got no regrets about it but, really, it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what we've learned out of it, apply it, and now we're into a tournament."   

However, with that record loss now locked away, Foster concedes his team will need to make a statement in their response.   

Since departing for Europe two weeks ago, Foster has more than once pointed out the All Blacks' record in World Cups away from home does not read well.   

While New Zealand have won two men's World Cups on home soil, that record reads one out of seven tournaments won abroad. 

And with the chance to make that two this year, before Foster signs off, starting on a high against France will sound the perfect warning to the rest of the world that the All Blacks are here to play.    

"Do we have a point to prove? Yeah, we always do," he continued. "I don't think you can ever hide from that.   

"We're going to be on a very big stage tomorrow night. We're a very proud team and we want to play well.  

"We'll reassess after that to see where we're at and how we progress in this tournament."   

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