The rivalry between the All Blacks and the Springboks is built on “deep respect”, says All Black assistant coach Ian Foster.
Foster made the comments responding to a question from a British reporter at a press conference in Japan today.
“I think we’ve always had a huge regard for the South African team," Foster said.
“They’re a team we have the biggest physical contact with them…simple as that.”
Saturday's clash is the opening pool match for both sides and Foster says the All Blacks have been solely focused on it.
“We’re not thinking too far ahead in this tournament. We’re just thinking about Saturday.”
“There’s no better game than to start than this one.”
Foster says he doesn't want a repeat of the draw with the Springboks in Wellington last month.
“We know the challenge – there’s a lot of talk about South Africa, but our focus is how good can we be.
“We’ve learned we’ve got to play 80 minutes against them.”
The All Blacks play the Springboks in Yokohama on Saturday, kickoff 9.45pm NZT.