'We wanted to make a statement' - New Zealand coach Ian Foster

New Zealand have registered their second win in three games in the World Cup
New Zealand have registered their second win in three games in the World Cup

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster lavished praise on his side's performance against Italy as they trounced them 96-17 in the Pool A encounter on Friday.

The All Blacks ran a 14-try riot with Aaron Smith scoring a hat-trick while Will Jordan, Ardie Savea and Dane Coles crossing over twice apiece to boost their chances of making to the quarter-final as they extended their winning streak over Italy to 16 games.

Following their defeat to South Africa in the warm-up and the loss against France in the tournament opener, there were questions raised over the dominance of New Zealand but Foster is relieved to gather some momentum in a must-win encounter.

“Delighted. We wanted to make a statement, we felt like we have had a couple of good weeks and felt like we had to rebuild momentum in this tournament after having that break,” said Foster to Sky Sports.

“To come out against a team that we legitimately had concerns about, because they are a good team and had played some great rugby leading into this, and put them away like that was really pleasing."

New Zealand will be facing Uruguay in the last game of the group stage while France will be lining up against Italy. Despite being the favourites to beat Uruguay, Foster says they will take no team lightly.

“The great thing for us is that we had a pressure game tonight [Friday] that we had to front up and play – there are other teams that have got that coming up too,” said Foster.

“People talk about other teams already being in the quarterfinals but there are still ramifications and things to happen.

“Uruguay have been a niggly team to play, so we have to respect that, but clearly we are where we want to be right now.”