Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot says they are anticipating something new from the All Blacks attack in their World Cup opener in Yokohama on Saturday.
The Springboks were able to largely contain their attack in the 16-16 draw between the two sides in Wellington earlier this year, forcing them into an unusual number of handling errors through their rush-and-scramble defence.
However, the New Zealanders have looked ominous in the buildup to the tournament, and sent a signal of their intent by scoring 14 tries and hammering Tonga 92-14 in their final warm-up match.
Speaking to the media during the week, Proudfoot said they expect the All Blacks to bring something different on attack on Saturday.
‘They are an intelligent bunch. They will bring something new,’ Proudfoot said. ‘We know they have been working on various aspects of their attack. If you read the narrative coming out of their camp, that has been what they have been working on.
‘If you analyse a little bit in depth, you can see there has been an evolution in that area of their game. That evolution would have continued to occur past the Tonga game and through the preparations for the Tonga game. We are expecting something new … there will be something new that they will bring to the party. They are too good a side not to continue their evolution and I expect through the competition they will continue doing that.’
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has experimented with his backline by starting flyhalf Richie Mo’unga and shifting Beauden Barrett to fullback, with Ben Smith playing on the wing.
However, Proudfoot said regardless of who the All Blacks opt for, they will still pose a massive threat on attack.
‘That is for Mr Hansen to decide. As I said with the locks, whether it is Brodie or Scott Barrett, they are both world class and that is the nature of the competition. My focus is on making sure these guys are as prepared as they can be. If I look at how this pack has grown in 18 months and how they are still hungry to work and grow their game, that is my focus.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) September 17, 2019
Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images