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All Blacks agree: mouthwatering World Cup opener looms

So, has Ian Foster's New Zealand side recovered from their record defeat to South Africa almost a fortnight ago?

Or will French overcome the weight of expectation and draw first blood in Pool A?

The All Blacks were on the wrong side of the scoreboard the last time they played France in 2021, but Foster is bullish about their chances of winning on Saturday.

He said the team is in a "good place" despite their most recent game being the 35-7 thrashing from the Springboks at Twickenham, a result he believes people shouldn't read too much in to.

"We've had a good prep, we've had a great Rugby Championship. If you look at the performances against Australia, South Africa and suddenly we're World Cup favourites," he said.

"Then we don't do very well at Twickenham in a warm-up game and suddenly we're the worst All Black team ever. We smile at that and we're quite excited about where we're at."

Foster has made four changes to his starting XV from the Springboks defeat.

Codie Taylor replaces Dane Coles at hooker, Nepo Laulala takes over from injured prop Tyrel Lomax, Dalton Papali'i is at blindside, pushing Luke Jacobson to the bench, and Anton Lienert-Brown replaces the injured Jordie Barrett in the midfield.

Lienert-Brown missed a large chunk of Super Rugby through injury and has only started one test in 2023, but Foster is adamant he'll get the job done.

"I think he's craving an opportunity to show that he's got his confidence back after quite a disruptive couple of years and we've got a lot of faith in him."

Foster also has faith that other teams aren't using any underhand tactics in France after a leading tier one nation reportedly asked World Rugby for "clarification about sanctions for any team found spying".

The Telegraph reported the team claimed training sessions may have been spied on by their opposition in recent years.

Foster insists it wasn't the All Blacks who complained and he doesn't think they've been spied on.

"Welcome to the World Cup. It's that simple. There's a lot of pressure on and people react in different ways and everyone's looking for an edge. I'm not sure where that one (the complaint) has come from.

"We're pretty confident we've been training alone, but who knows."

One thing the All Blacks do know is that they'll face a hostile reception at a packed-out Stade de France, where about 80 thousand fans will be baying for black blood.

Foster said his side will need a fast start to nullify some of the hosts' home advantage.

"It's always on the wish list when you play away from home but definitely for this one.

"We were here in 2021 and we know how well France started that day and put us behind the eight ball. We know what's coming, but it's going to be amplified, that's what World Cups are about. Quite frankly it's a privilege to play this game."

Those sentiments are echoed by All Blacks fullback Beauden Barrett.

"Home crowd advantage will be an influence but we'll just treat that as energy and fuel. These French boys have been waiting for this game for a long time, but so have we."

The All Blacks captain Sam Cane concedes the pressure on both teams is immense, but there's nowhere he'd rather be than in Paris on Saturday morning.

"Like Foz (Foster) said it's a privilege to play this first game to kick off the 2023 World Cup against the home nation who would probably be considered favourites. It's going to be a seriously special occasion and we can't think of a better to start our Rugby World Cup and hopefully there's some moments of magic out there."

All Blacks fans will be hoping it's their team creating those moments of magic, with the wounds of France's 2007 World Cup quarter-final win over New Zealand still fresh for many.