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Rannak Group

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New Zealand vs South Africa live watch Rugby World Cup final online Live Watch

The All Blacks had just been thumped 26-10 by South Africa in Mbombela, their fifth defeat in six games, and faced another potential humiliation against the Springboks at Ellis Park. Figures from the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) had already reached out to Scott Robertson, the long-time heir-apparent at the Crusaders to discuss his crown-fitting. Foster was resigned to his fate. “I felt very much at peace in the game,” Foster later reflected in a documentary. “I was probably geared up with that being my last Test, so I was determined to enjoy it.” A press conference had been called for the Sunday morning to announce the act of regicide. All that remained was for the Springboks to administer the last rites. The New Zealand players had other thoughts. A delegation, including several Crusaders players, met Mark Robinson, the New Zealand Rugby chief executive, to tell him they wanted Foster to stay. And then they went out and beat the world champions 35-23. “We were playing for our coach’s job,” Aaron Smith, the scrum half, said afterwards. “This was more than just a rugby game; this was about a man’s livelihood, passion, and pedigree as a Test rugby coach.” Foster was in tears in the changing room afterwards, but it turned out to be a mere stay of execution after suffering a first home defeat to Argentina a couple of weeks later. Earlier this year, New Zealand Rugby invited applications for Foster’s job after the World Cup. Foster did not reapply, knowing the die had already been cast. And now he is 80 minutes away from riding off into the sunset as a world champion with New Zealand again taking the Springboks. “I’ve got lots of ideas but first I’m going to mow my lawns,” Foster said. “I will be coaching though, by the way.”


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