'Important to start well against South Africa in World Cup final' - Scott McLeod

New Zealand will be eyeing their fourth Rugby World Cup title
New Zealand will be eyeing their fourth Rugby World Cup title
©Photo by Pauline Ballet - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

New Zealand defence coach Scott McLeod emphasized on the need to have a positive start in the upcoming Rugby World Cup final against South Africa on Saturday.

Having defeated Argentina and England in the semi-finals, both New Zealand and South Africa will be aiming for a fourth World Cup title and McLeod reckons early momentum will be key.

"It's no secret both teams will be focusing on the first 20 minutes.

"We will need to be extremely accurate, show touches that we want to show and be able to apply pressure at the same time".

McLeod also confirmed that all the members of the squad are fit and are ready to brace the physicality from the Springboks in the weekend's encounter.

"We have 33 fit men. A number of those guys have come back from injury lately, so they haven't felt the full wear and tear of the tournament and feel quite fresh.

"And when parts of your game work through the quarterfinal and semifinal week, you get belief out of that. That is also a mental freshness. That is not something that drains you.

"Mentally and physically we are ready for this. We are excited. We probably have to hold the boys a little bit."

Jacques Nienaber's men have continually employed aerial tactics to gain advantage over their opponents in the tournament and McLeod said they will be wary of what to expect against the Boks.

"They are very good at getting into the air, and getting the ball back. When they do get it, they put it into space behind, spread it wide and play from there. They have scored tries from their aerial stuff. We will be building our detail into how we can win those moments."