Some like it hot

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 11 Sep 2019

New Zealand scrum-half Brad Weber believes the All Blacks' high-tempo game will perfectly suit the hot and humid Japanese conditions as they seek to run opponents ragged in pursuit of a third straight Rugby World Cup.

Weber yesterday said that the focus of the team's first training session in Japan was on getting used to the "pretty hot" conditions with temperatures hitting 35 degrees Celsius.

But Weber insisted the All Blacks would relish the warmth and the contrast with a New Zealand winter.

"New Zealanders in general, we like to play a fast game, up tempo. I see these conditions suiting us perfectly," said the 28-year-old.

"We're all pretty keen to get among these conditions, because it's relatively cold and wet back home and we'll get some conditions we enjoy playing in."

Weber quipped that the weather was "just like summer in New Zealand," before admitting: "Okay, maybe the humidity's a bit different."

Lock Sam Whitelock said that the change in temperature was fierce but teams that adapted their style to the conditions would prosper over the seven-week tournament. "Because it's going to be warm, everyone's going to want to play expansive rugby but it's about making sure you can control the tempo," said Whitelock, also part of the past two World Cup-winning teams. "You've got to have the ability to play a couple of different styles."

Whitelock revealed that some players had taken to wrapping themselves in cold towels at training to get their body temperature down but stressed that two weeks was enough to acclimatize.

New Zealand open their title defense against South Africa on September 21 in what Whitelock said was "a massive match."

The team was welcomed to their training base in Kashiwa on Monday by dozens of children performing the All Blacks' traditional haka.

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