TODAY |

All Blacks brace for emotional Pumas performance after Maradona's death

If there wasn't already enough on the line in tomorrow's crucial Tri Nations Test between the All Blacks and Argentina, Diego Maradona's death has upped the stakes.

Source: 1 NEWS

The 60-year-old died yesterday from a heart attack, and it's sparked an outpouring of grief in Argentina and three days of national mourning.

Maradona was a revered figure in the South American country and considered a national icon and hero.

He had also formed a close bond with the Pumas in recent years and was seen supporting them at World Cups.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster says he understands the Pumas will be hurting in what's set to be an emotionally charged match.

"We commiserate with them, he was an iconic sporting person and clearly had a lot of meaning to the people of Argentina," said Foster.

"We acknowledge that, clearly when you go into a game, you're the next big game off the track for that country, it's going to have some emotion."

It's that emotion which rugby fans saw after Argentina's historic win over the All Blacks earlier this month.

However, after the death of Maradona, those emotions will likely be heightened.

"But that's something they need to deal with. We have to control our own emotions and we have plenty of reasons and determination to play for our country as well," Foster continued.

"To fix up our performance from two weeks ago is pretty high on our list."