The Springboks could be put to the sword when a rampant All Blacks side goes looking for a more ruthless performance on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI in Durban.
On Monday, Bok coach Allister Coetzee and veteran flanker Francois Louw spoke about the South African team’s performances in 2016. Both men felt that the Boks have played well in patches over the past eight Tests. Consistency, said Louw, has been a problem, and is one of the reasons why the Boks have a 50% win record.
Up the road on Umhlanga Ridge, the All Blacks were peddling a similar line. The obvious difference between New Zealand and South Africa, of course, is that the former have won all their Tests in 2016 and have claimed bonus-point victories in each of their five Rugby Championship Tests.
Surely the All Blacks can’t get any better? They’ve won each of those five Rugby Championship Tests by 19 points or more. They recently thrashed the Boks 41-13 in Christchurch.
If the All Blacks do realise their goals at Kings Park on Saturday, the Boks could sustain another big hiding.
‘Argentina put us under pressure in Buenos Aires last week, so we know we have some things to work on,’ said All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick referring to his side’s 36-17 win against the Pumas.
‘That’s going to be driving us forward on Saturday. We always look forward to coming to South Africa and battling the Boks in their own backyard. We will be looking to dominate for the full 80 minutes.’
The All Blacks have won their last 16 Tests. One more victory, and they will equal the tier-one Test record. Two more, and they will own that record outright.
Fullback Ben Smith admitted that the coaches and players have spoken about that record. The All Blacks won the 2015 World Cup and clinched the Rugby Championship title two weeks ago. They are now determined to add a record 18-game winning streak to their list of achievements.
‘It’s the kind of thing you will look back at one day and say you were lucky to be a part of it,’ Smith said. ‘Obviously we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves and have to focus on this week. But we are constantly working towards that and are up for the challenge of facing the Boks this Saturday.’
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