Rugby World Cup: Coach Ian Foster relishes Springboks finale as All Blacks' great rivals offer perfect farewell

With a Rugby World Cup final between the All Blacks and South Africa looming, coach Ian Foster considers his exit from the top job couldn't have been scripted any better.  

New Zealand will face one of their oldest rivals on Sunday's (NZ time), a challenge he feels this group are ready to front head-on for a record fourth World Cup crown.  

This is a special and emotional week for Foster, as he looks to scale new heights in his All Blacks swansong. He is relaxed and ready, as he prepares for the biggest test of his coaching career.  

"It's 80 percent excitement," he told Newshub. "This is what we work for and we've worked hard to get into this final, and we're here."

Ian Foster.
Ian Foster. Photo credit: Getty Images

Now standing between the All Blacks and their ultimate objective are one of their greatest rivals. 

"It probably couldn't be scripted better, could it?" quizzed Foster. "South Africa again have come through that tight game and give themselves a chance for this week." 

Tight would be one way to put it. The Springboks had to dig deep to force their way into a second straight World Cup final, as Handre Pollard's penalty from halfway sealed the win with time almost up.  

Foster is under no illusions over the challenge awaiting his side at the Stade de France. 

"You go into a final and, you know, it's never going to be easy," he continued. "We've got great memories of big games against them over all my time, it's always been big." 

The All Blacks have timed their run towards this World Cup final almost perfectly. Despite dropping their the tournament opener to France, they've found their rhythm at the business end in time to write the next chapter in rugby's greatest rivalry.

"We're excited and, I guess, as the week goes on the, the nerves will go up a little bit, but that's what a final should be like." 

This final has more at stake than just becoming world champions - history is on the line as well. 

Whoever wins will become the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup four times. 

"For this team, it's a big chance to put another World Cup in the cabinet and to add to the legacy of a team that we love deeply would be pretty special." 

Do that and Foster's own legacy would be secure, walking away from Paris as a world champion for the second time. 

Join Newshub at 8am Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks v South Africa World Cup final