by Nicholas Dendry
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Read Kiran He will be in the stands of the Stade de France on Saturday 28 October for the final match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup between New Zealand And South Africa. All Blacks third row centre 128 selection Speaking exclusively to Rugby News Ahead of this meeting that will mark the history of world rugby.
The winner of this match will be the only country to lift the title Four Webb Ellis Awards. World Champion in 2011 And 2015 New Zealand’s legendary captain Kieran Read also returned to the All Blacks’ World Cup journey.
News: How do you feel about the final between the All Blacks and South Africa?
Kiran read: The match is going to be huge! These countries came to play the final. South Africa and New Zealand are the two best teams in the World Cup. Both countries have been crowned champions three times. The team that wins this weekend will be able to say they are the best in the world after winning four World Cup titles. It will be the first country to do so. I think the All Blacks might be comfortable with an extra day of rest. South Africa played big, fairly tough matches, and were perhaps more physically demanding. But I know South Africa will be there because it is a final.
Kieran Read’s advice for the World Cup final
You’ve played in two World Cup finals during your career. What is the best way to prepare for the World Cup Final?
K.R: For the week’s training, it’s the same setup. You know your game plan and the way you play. You must ensure that you adhere to your approved routine and habits during the competition. Probably the biggest change is mental. You should be aware of this opportunity to play the final match. It’s the biggest stage in world rugby. This is where the most pressure and expectation is at this World Cup. You have to accept that, and mentally work on the game during the week to handle the pressure. We must not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by this opportunity by putting things into perspective and keeping things simple. This allows you to get into the best match and performance position. For the All Blacks, this is the key to being well prepared for the final.
During the last match against South Africa, the All Blacks team suffered the largest defeat in its history (35-7). Can this match be counted against the final?
KR: Some might say that South Africa are favorites and they might be because of this match. At Twickenham, South Africa were mentally strong and I think the All Blacks were already thinking about the World Cup. This match showed that South Africa was good. On our part, we had discipline problems and did not play well. Going into the final, I think the All Blacks have this game on their minds. That’s for sure. But it was a match without stakes and this is the World Cup final. The counters are reset to zero. On the other hand, we will not be able to repeat the performance at Twickenham this weekend because otherwise it will not be a good finish…
There is a historical rivalry between the two countries. How do you explain this rivalry?
KR: It is history on and off the rugby field. New Zealand toured South Africa extensively for a long period. There is a connection between the Springboks and the All Blacks because of the way we play rugby. South Africa and New Zealand also have the same British origins as Commonwealth countries. It’s just respect between the two countries.
Your favorite matches in your career were against the Springboks…
KR: One of my favorite matches was the match against South Africa in South Africa. There was pressure. The audience is extraordinary. He loves rugby. Then the Springboks have a game that requires you to be physically and mentally prepared to play rugby. You have to be fair in your game, otherwise they’ll knock you down.
Ireland – All Blacks: New Zealand’s best match
What do you think of the All Blacks’ progress at the 2023 World Cup?
KR: I think the All Blacks World Cup is very good. It is clear that in the opening match against France, they did not play their best rugby. But since that match, they have improved every week. They seem to have reached their peak at the right time in the World Cup. Now the New Zealanders play really good rugby with good combinations. I feel like they’re in a really good position to get the job done and finish well on Saturday.
Since the start of the World Cup, New Zealand’s most successful performance was their quarter-final match against Ireland. What do you think of this meeting?
K.R: It was a great match between two very good teams. I think the All Blacks were better mentally. Their minds were really focused on what they had to do. They went out on the field wanting to give everything for the shirt. New Zealand lost the last matches to Ireland. I think the Irish came in thinking the first leg would be good for them. That was the difference. Their attempt was blocked by the All Blacks. Ireland could have scored tries but in the end they didn’t know how to do so because of the All Blacks’ pressure. This is New Zealand’s best match.
How did you experience the last five minutes of the quarter-final match against Ireland?
K.R: It was unbelievable. I was nervous and I was afraid. I was just hoping and praying that the boys would win. It was incredible! The defense was exceptional. They showed that they can depend on each other and that they stand up for the team and the country. It was impressive to see. I jumped for joy and screamed at the TV.
Kieran Read points out the successful invasion
What impresses you most about this All Blacks squad?
K.R: The All Blacks have brought back a bit of control of the game, and the forwards are doing a really good job. Melee works well. New Zealand Touch is the best in the competition in terms of success. Add to that what the All Blacks know well: scoring great tries with great passing. These wonderful attempts are possible thanks to the good conquest provided by the attackers.
Which All Blacks player have impressed you most during this World Cup?
K.R: I think of our two wingers who played very well. Obviously Will Jordan, who scored eight tries. It’s huge! He’s really a great player and he hasn’t played much in 2023. On the left wing, Mark Tilia and Lester Vainga’anuku are two completely different players. But they bring an impact to the game and are very good at what they do. In terms of strikers, hooker Cody Taylor has gained experience and has come into his own. He contributes to the All Blacks’ success with his throws. In the game, he plays rugby very well. Finally, Ardie Savea is probably our best player. In this World Cup, he proved that he is the best player in the world.
2022 has been a complicated year for the All Blacks. How do you explain New Zealand’s change and success in 2023?
K.R: I think we made some staff changes last year. After that it is difficult to explain. Last year, the players worked hard but without results. They forced themselves to do a good job. But sometimes you just have to relax, go back to your instincts and your artistic skills. This year, they didn’t force things and showed that they bonded together as a group. They have a good frame of mind to start their matches. With this calm state of mind, the All Blacks can score goals from anywhere.
A final word Kieran on Sam Whitlock who I played with and who became the All Blacks’ most capped player in history during this World Cup…
K.R: He is a very good friend. He is someone who is very committed to what he does. He has played many matches in his career and has been consistent in his performance at the highest level. This shows his determination and importance in the team. Sam is amazing. It’s huge that he is now the most capped All Black player in history ahead of Richie McCaw. It shows the person and the player.
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