Rugby World Cup: Coach Ian Foster 'incredibly proud' of All Blacks after historic semi-final triumph

While not quite perfunctory, it was about as flat a semi-final as many had feared, but the All Blacks are cock-a-hoop on Saturday (NZ time), after pummelling Argentina 44-6 to stay on course for a record fourth Rugby World Cup title.

"It's everything, it's the goal," said NZ coach Ian Foster. "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."

Next up will be either 2003 champions England or holders South Africa - also seeking a fourth title - who'll lock horns on Sunday in the second semi-final.

"I am incredibly proud of the way we backed it up tonight," Foster said. "I thought it was a tough game.

"We got asked a lot of questions from Argentina early. We held great composure and finished strong, so I am pretty pleased."

Ian Foster congratulates Ardie Savea.
Ian Foster congratulates Ardie Savea. Photo credit: Getty Images

Few in the stands got the impression it had been a tough game, with New Zealand at cruising pace outclassing Argentina in every department. Seven tries by four different scorers settled it, without ever setting the Stade de France alight.

The difference between this semi-final and the nerve-shredding quarter-final victory over world No. 1 Ireland could hardly have been more marked, but the All Blacks won't care, after reaching a record fifth World Cup final.

"World Cup semi-final... it's a great preparation for a World Cup final, that's what I would say," smiled Foster, batting away a query about whether the one-sided result had been the perfect preparation.

Captain Sam Cane has lauded his pack for driving this one-sided victory.

"I thought our forwards did an outstanding job - set-piece, maul time, earned a few penalties, got a bit of dominance and it kept a lot of pressure on the Argentineans," he said.

"We knew they're a team that will fight for everything and they wouldn't go away, so that ability to keep piling on points was pleasing.

"We are in a good spot, in the final, exactly where we wanted to be. Amazing support, a lot of black jerseys out here.

"I know there will be heaps at home cheering us on too, so it's going to be an exciting week ahead."

Player-of-the-match Jordie Barrett says the team definitely has unfinished business.

"We slipped at the semi-final hurdle four years ago," he said. "It's not done yet.

"We will have a very tough match, regardless of who we have next week.

"It's new territory for a lot of boys, but there are also World Cup winners and World Cup finalists [among us], so we will call on their experience as much as we can. We are just going to enjoy the week as much as possible.  

"It's special times."