Foster sweating on duo ahead of All Blacks’ World Cup announcement

Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock and Sam Cane of the All Blacks during the All Black Vs Australia Bledisloe Cup, Rugby match, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand. 5th August 2023. © Copyright photo: John Davidson /
Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2023

All Blacks coach Ian Foster faces concerns over the fitness of experienced second row forward Brodie Retallick and centre Braydon Ennor ahead of naming his squad for the Rugby World Cup tomorrow.

The pair suffered knee injuries during their 23-20 win over Australia in Dunedin on Saturday, leaving Foster in doubt over their availability with less than five weeks until New Zealand’s World Cup opener against France on Sept. 8.

“I don’t like to worry about things until I know so let’s just get the scans and see what it says,” said Foster.

The All Blacks have a perfect record so far in 2023 and face South Africa in a World Cup warm-up on Aug. 25 at Twickenham before taking on the French in their tournament opener.

New Zealand have also been drawn to face Italy, Uruguay and Namibia in the group phase of the World Cup as they seek to win the title for a fourth time.

“I’m stoked with the win,” said Foster. “Clearly, we were second best by some distance in that first half.

“To come back and show a lot of composure under that scoreboard pressure and to win in the last few minutes is a great lesson for this team.

“We’ve had three good wins this year. To come off a different type of win will hold us in good stead for later on.”

Foster made 12 changes to the side that had defeated Australia in Melbourne two weeks ago and the All Blacks struggled throughout the first 40 minutes as the Wallabies opened up a 14-point lead by the interval.

But a raft of changes throughout the second half swung the game in New Zealand’s favour, with Richie Mo’unga kicking the winning penalty in the final minute.

“We had a strategy going into this game – we made a lot of changes, more than we have for a long time,” said Foster.

“The overall objective was to win this test but also get this squad to the starting line of the World Cup all in a good space.”

– Reuters

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