Tamaiti Williams recognises the strength of the Bok bench, but the All Blacks prop is relishing the physical challenge when the teams clash in the World Cup final on Saturday.
New Zealand outclassed Argentina 44-6 in the semi-finals to set up the showdown at the Stade de France against the Springboks, last-gasp 16-15 victors over England in their last-four match.
As each side stares down the barrel of a seventh and final match in France, Williams understands the formidable threat posed by the South African replacements – widely known as the Bomb Squad – as well as the world champions’ prowess in the scrums.
Speaking in an All Blacks conference on Monday, the 23-year-old also acknowledges the lessons learned from playing the Boks twice this year already, highlighting their size and clinical execution.
“They are great scrummagers, as we all know. If I get the opportunity to be out there on Saturday, I’ll be up for the challenge, but it all starts with the preparation, and we’ll have a closer look at how we can counter that,” he told reporters.
“For us, it is all about being clean. You have to match the physicality. Everyone knows what they are going to bring. We had a good win against them, and we got a hiding against them as well.
“It is clear they’ve got a good bench and they do the damage when they come on. It’s whatever the team needs us to do off the bench – energy, ball-carrying, set-piece. We are just going to focus on ourselves and make sure we are primed.”
Hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, too, is gearing up for an epic showdown in Paris: “Obviously the Springboks are very good at what they do. They are big men and they love confrontation. I like to base my game around that, so I am really excited about it, if I get the opportunity.
“I’m sure all the boys are looking forward to it. It’s the most important week of the tournament, and we’re just pumped, ready to go.”