Ian Foster says set-pieces are “where the war’s going to be won or lost” when New Zealand and England lock horns in the first Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday.
The All Blacks and Eddie Jones’ side do battle at International Stadium Yokohama for the right to play South Africa or Wales in the final.
Steve Hansen sprung a surprise by picking Scott Barrett ahead of Sam Cane at blindside flanker in what would appear to be an effort to target the England lineout.
New Zealand assistant coach Foster said the team that gain the edge in lineouts and scrums will have a great chance of progressing.
Sliding into the weekend like…
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 25, 2019
“The quality of your set-piece is key. And rugby hasn’t changed over all the years, with all the different things that have happened to it,” said Foster.
“There’s a simplicity about it. If you scrum well and line-out well, you’ve got a good chance.”
He added: “It’s a tactical battle in itself. That’s where the war’s going to be won or lost.”
Prop Joe Moody is relishing a titanic tussle with a powerful England pack.
“There is a big English forward pack. We know they are going to be pretty direct… we’re going to have to be up for it to match fire with fire,” he said.
“Should be a big old ding-dong battle.”