Caption: The All Blacks performing the Ka Mate before a match – Pic courtesy https://www.foxsports.com.au
The thing about being the best in the word is that you are always expected to win. So, the All Blacks know that immense pressure will be on them to beat the Boks and avoid losing to the Springboks for the second successive time when the two sides meet for the 97th time at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Coach Steve Hansen and his boys have already secured the 2018 Rugby Championship. But that doesn’t matter as Hansen wants nothing but a victory from his side against a Springboks side that is high on confidence following their back-to-back wins in the Championship.
Hansen has highlighted the fact that the Springboks are flying high on confidence and they are playing good rugby. He said their confidence levels will be even higher considering they are playing at home.
We’ll need to respond with real purpose, composure, belief, and intensity.
“Test matches between the All Blacks and Springboks are always intense and dramatic, and this weekend will be no different. Expectations are that we win every test match, and if we win them we’ve got to win them well so nothing will change for us,” Hansen said.
This is probably the most pressure the All Blacks has been under to beat the Boks for a very long time. And the last time they lost two games in a row against the Springboks was back in 2009.
With the added burden of having to quickly get over the travel demands of playing in Argentina and South Africa meant the All Blacks had little time to prepare for the Springboks who will be playing in their own backyard in front of their home fans.
ICYMI | Here is your #AllBlacks 23 to take on the Springboks this weekend.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 4, 2018
Springboks in a Positive Space
South Africa, under the leadership of Siya Kolisi and head coach Rassie Erasmus, has shown a glimpse of the old great Springboks sides. They are improving and growing from strength-to-strength.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard said they are not under a false impression that they will win every match and they know there is still plenty of work to be done if they are to be the best in the world. “We are still a team that is growing, that is learning to get to know each other and the coaches, management.
“We’re in a positive space at the moment. Two great wins for us. We’ve been a bit up and down throughout the season so what we are looking for is just continuity and consistency and performing at a higher level,” Pollard said.
“They (the All Blacks) are the best team in the world, so you aren’t going to surprise them, you aren’t going to do anything a lot better than them because they are good at everything.
Your #Springboks team to face @AllBlacks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria Saturday has been named. @Doogz @FloLouw and @StevenKitshoff are back in the starting line-up, while @wjjleroux will play in his 50th Test for South Africa. #LoveRugby @MTNza @FNBSA @CastleLagerSA @ASICS_ZA pic.twitter.com/hMYnNoJphA
— Springboks (@Springboks) October 4, 2018
In recent years the All Blacks have made light work of the Springboks and they might have suffered their first defeat at Wellington in many years against South Africa but writing them off would probably be a silly mistake.
New Zealand prop Karl Tu’inukuafe said the Wellington test was his first loss in the All Blacks’ jersey and South Africa has been one of the biggest challenges for them. “I’ve got something to prove. South Africa is definitely good and I have something to prove, I always put them above me,” he said.
Since 1921 New Zealand and South Africa have played each other 96 times, with the All Blacks winning 57 matches and the Springboks 36. Three encounters ended in three draws.
The last time the All Black played the Springboks at Loftus in 2006 they walked away winners 45-26 and they will be hoping for the same outcome in what is expected to be another titanic clash.
Do you think the All Blacks will beat the Boks again tomorrow?