Forwards coach Jason Ryan said New Zealand have a plan to “take some gas” out of the Springboks’ substitutes when the teams clash in the World Cup final on Saturday.
The arch-rivals are gearing up for a blockbuster decider at the Stade de France to this year’s tournament in France, the Kiwis outclassing Argentina 44-6 in the semi-finals before the Boks edged England 16-15 in their last-four match.
The last time the two southern hemisphere foes met was the World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham, when South Africa handed the All Blacks their heaviest ever defeat.
That game saw the Bok brains trust pull off a surprise with seven forwards on the bench, and it paid off as the Kiwi pack was placed under immense pressure.
Speaking in an All Blacks conference on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s showdown in Paris, Ryan was asked about facing the formidable Bomb Squad again, and quipped: “It would be good to take some gas out of that bomb, wouldn’t it?
“We’ve got trust in our plan this week and we believe we will be able to be there right until the end.”
Commenting on the progress of New Zealand’s scrum while also highlighting the importance of discipline in the final, the assistant coach said: “Well, we got to the final, so that’s not a bad stride. We’ve made some good progress in a few areas. We are trending in the right direction.
“We’ve set ourselves up to give ourselves a chance. I am extremely proud of what we’ve achieved and we’ve got one to play.
“I am proud of all of them. They’ve all been competing. We’ve got faith in the lot of them. Accuracy is a big part of discipline. Often you talk about discipline but you’ve got to be accurate.
“This contest is going to be a title fight.”
On controlling their emotions with players like Aaron Smith retiring from Test rugby after Saturday, Ryan added: “We’ve talked about farewells. We’ve talked this week about being the best that we can.
“We had quite a nice night last night as a team and some of our experienced leaders spoke about what it’s been to be an All Black and their previous experiences in World Cup, as well as some of the younger boys.
“That’s been a special part of our week and it was nice last night listening to some of those guys. Anyone that has played 100 plus tests, you’ve got some stories haven’t you.
“[Smith] has been right up there as the best halfback in the world for a long time. Phenomenal man. Always had so much respect for ‘Nug’ and the way he played the game from when I was involved in Super Rugby.
“Just his energy and the way he challenges and barks at his forward pack is good, keeps everyone honest. He leaves not only a great legacy. He is a great New Zealander to be fair.”