Head coach Ian Foster says a “smart and physical” approach from the All Blacks is the ticket to victory over the Springboks when the arch-rivals battle on Saturday.
“It’s about the team manning up because the Boks are not one-trick ponies. That’s a fallacy,” said Foster after naming a new-look All Blacks match-day 23 on Thursday for the opening Rugby Championship Test in Nelspruit.
“What they do well, they do really well. You don’t become the world champions if you’re not proficient at a whole lot of things. They’re a great team and they play well, but it’s also about us not getting too hung up on that either.
“We have to go in with the mindset of wanting to play our game. There’s an edge and we know we can play better.
“However, we can’t do that by worrying about the opposition. We have to be excited and hone in on how we want to play.
“We’ll man up, but we need to be smart and physical, but we’ll need a good combination of both.”
On the back of a historic series loss to Ireland and four defeats in the All Blacks’ past five Tests, Foster faces the arduous task of turning their form around in two successive matches against the Boks in the Republic.
“Much has been made of the last series and we’re putting the building blocks in place in that series. Did we get everything right? No, we didn’t,” he said.
“We still have a lot of faith in the areas where we want to grow our game. There are tweaks in the attacks that we’re working on, with some of them highlighting some of the focus points of our game that we didn’t get right.
“It’s not a matter of bringing in 10 new things, it’s about bringing a couple in and honing two or three things that we wanted to do, but didn’t do well.”