All Blacks coach Ian Foster has unequivocally dismissed rumours of an injury to star playmaker Richie Mo’unga ahead of this weekend’s Rugby World Cup final at Stade de France.
New Zealand Herald journalist Liam Napier had heard “injury whispers” of what would’ve been a game-changing injury in the lead-up to the decider. Stuff also mentioned the rumour in one of their pieces this week.
There was also an extensive Reddit thread as fans began to spread the news like wildfire mere days out from the biggest game on the men’s rugby calendar. But if Mo’unga is injured, then that’s news to coach Foster.
After unveiling the All Blacks team for the Rugby World Cup final, coach Foster offered a smile to a room of reporters as he put any rumours of Mo’unga’s readiness to rest.
“I was very interested to read that. I haven’t heard that from our medical staff, so he is good to go,” Foster said on Thursday.
“10s are key, they always are in big games, but we like to take the pressure off one person by the guys in front of them doing their jobs, our nine giving good service. There are lots of different pictures you see outside your 10 too.
“But Richie is in a great spot, he is leading the team well, he has a smile on his face and is uninjured.”
With both teams looking to win a record fourth Rugby World Cup title, the All Blacks and Springboks will write another unmissable chapter into the history books of their rivalry.
Both coach Foster and captain Sam Cane know what it takes to win the sport’s biggest prize, with the pair contributing to the All Blacks’ triumph at the 2015 tournament in England.
But there’s something a bit different about this Test. The All Blacks were written off by many coming into the Rugby World Cup, and it’s their arch-rivals who stand in their way of eternal glory.
“Yeah, big. That’s what World Cup finals are about. This is our second one we’ve been to. I don’t think there’s ever a small one. The fact is we have two teams who have been old foes for a long time,” Foster added.
“We all remember the last final between us [in 1995], which was an epic, and hopefully this one will be the same. Then you do the maths and someone is going to win a fourth, so it’s special isn’t it?
“We’ve got massive regard for each other, massive respect for them as country in how they play. It’s a pretty cool one to get ready for.”