All Blacks honing on defense ahead of Boks clash

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New Zealand’s All Blacks held a training session in the gym as they prepared for Saturday’s 2023 Rugby Union World Cup final against defending champions South Africa, in Paris on Saturday. The All Blacks are well aware they will have to defend well against the Springboks to have a chance of winning a fourth title.

The All Blacks lost their last encounter against the Springboks 35-7 in a pre-tournament warm-up match two months ago, the biggest-ever loss in their history. The team also lost 27-13 to hosts France in the opening match of the tournament.

But New Zealand have shown tremendous improvement in defense since then. The team reached a fifth final following an emphatic 44-6 win over Argentina on Friday. The All Blacks knew that they would need their A-game against Los Pumas in the semi-final, and they did, winning without conceding a single try.

“I said last week that history shows the team who is one of the best defensively will end up winning the world cup. There are a few guys in our team who are particularly passionate about it so it’s pretty strong,” says Captain Sam Cane.

Cane was proud of the way the team defended and says it’s as result of the work they do at training.

“There’s also the work the boys who are not playing do, learning the opposition shapes so we can train against them during the week as well. But we are pretty stoked not to concede any tries tonight. I am pretty proud of that,” Cane added.

Saturday’s final will be played at the Stade de France in Paris, and it will kick off at nine o’clock in the evening South African time. – Percy Nkatlo