In Summary
  • The treble-chasing All Blacks, who face the Springboks in a potentially explosive Pool B clash on September 21, began their workout at 8:00 am local time in Kashiwa, northeast of Tokyo, to avoid the brutal afternoon heat.

KASHIWA, JAPAN

Champions New Zealand underwent a punishing first World Cup training session in Japan on Wednesday before promising to come out firing against South Africa in their blockbuster tournament opener.

The treble-chasing All Blacks, who face the Springboks in a potentially explosive Pool B clash on September 21, began their workout at 8:00 am local time in Kashiwa, northeast of Tokyo, to avoid the brutal afternoon heat.

"I'll give you a quick summary - it's very hot," said New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster, noting that temperatures hit 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday.

"We changed the timing of our training just to adapt to the heat in the afternoon. It's common sense - but we're loving it.

"We had a number of players who we held back last week with niggles. We're pleased with the progress we've seen and that's put us in a good spot," he added, confirming that fly-half Richie Mo'unga should recover from his sore shoulder in time to face South Africa.

"It's the first time in three years we've had a week of training without a game at the end. That's probably why we got a bit of a bounce today with a really solid session. The guys are feeling really good about what we're doing."

The All Blacks, who smashed Tonga 92-7 last weekend in a World Cup warm-up in Hamilton, also meet Italy, Canada and Namibia in Pool B.

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