New Zealand v Namibia: Foster calls All Blacks match ‘vital’ after France loss

New Zealand v Namibia: Foster calls All Blacks match 'vital' after France loss

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster talks to his players
Ian Foster has been the head coach of New Zealand since 2019
Venue: Stadium de Toulouse Date: Friday, 15 September Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Head coach Ian Foster says New Zealand’s Pool A match with Namibia on Friday is “vital” for his side “to grow” after they lost to France in their World Cup opener.

The three-time winners were beaten 27-13 by the hosts in Paris on Friday.

It was their first pool-stage defeat at a World Cup, ending a 31-match winning record.

“[The Namibia match] is a key game for us to get right and we’ve selected accordingly,” added Foster.

“We are expecting a very tough Namibian side to test us on Friday. While we were disappointed with the result in the first round, it hasn’t moved our focus from what we need to do to in our pool games.

“This game is vital for us to grow and we can’t wait to get to Toulouse and test ourselves.”

Namibia, who lost 52-8 to Italy in their opener, have never won a match at a World Cup, losing 22 times since their debut in 1999.

Four years ago the Welwitschias were beaten 71-9 by the All Blacks in the pool stages in Japan.

“The Italy game was a big challenge for us, especially in the set-piece. Hopefully it will be better,” said Namibia head coach Allister Coetzee.

“We have to throw more punches. New Zealand is a top nation. Our plan is to stop the momentum and break their rhythm.”

Whitelock ‘a warrior’ for New Zealand

New Zealand’s Sam Whitelock will make his 148th international appearance for the All Blacks, equalling Richie McCaw’s national appearance record.

The 34-year-old is one of six players retained by head coach Foster for Friday’s game in Toulouse.

“It’s a massive occasion for Sam and for us as a team,” added Foster.

“I think he has been a warrior for this team for a long time and to equal someone like Richie is a massive achievement.

“We all know how much it means for him to pull on a black jersey and to do it for the 148th time is a very special occasion, one that we make sure we put a performance on that gives that record a lot of respect and celebrate it with him afterwards.”

Pool A standings

The stats

  • This will the third consecutive Rugby World Cup that New Zealand and Namibia have met. They have never played each other outside of this tournament in a stand-alone international.
  • New Zealand have only conceded one try against Namibia, with Jean Deysel crossing in the 51st minute at the Olympic Stadium in London in 2015.
  • New Zealand have scored 20 tries in two Tests against Namibia, averaging one every eight minutes of play.

New Zealand: B Barrett; Clarke, Leinert-Brown, Havili, Fainga’anuku; McKenzie, Roigard; Tuungafasi, Taukei’aho, Laulala, Retallick, Whitelock, Jacobson, Papali’i, Savea (capt).

Replacements: Coles, De Groot, Newell, S Barrett, Vaa’i, Smith, Mo’unga, Ioane.

Namibia: Loubser; Mouton, Deysel (capt), Malan, Rossouw; Swanepoel, Stevens; Benade, Van Jaarsveld, Coetzee, Retief, Uanivi, Conradie, Gaoseb, Hardwick.

Replacements: Van der Westhuizen, Sethie, Shifuka, Van Lill, Booysen, Katjijeko, Theron, Greyling.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)

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