It doesn’t get tougher or more challenging than playing in South Africa and against the Springboks, said Crusaders captain and All Blacks lock Scott Barrett.
Barrett was joined by fellow All Blacks Dane Coles, Sevu Reece and Shannon Frizell as the All Blacks quartet were asked, in a Q&A video on RugbyPass, to pick out the toughest match of their international careers to date.
Frizell, the Highlanders loose forward, couldn’t whittle it down to a single match, but he didn’t have any doubt about the toughest team he’s faced.
‘Every game we play against South Africa,’ said the 13-Test All Black. ‘Especially when we play in South Africa … just the stadium, and they’re big boys, it’s a different beast when they play a home game.’
‘Naturally, you probably go to the losses, the ones that hurt the most,’ Barrett said. ‘Games in South Africa at altitude and in front of their fans, it’s a different atmosphere.’
Barrett and Reece also named the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final loss against England while Coles highlighted the 2015 RWC final.
All four players were on duty when the All Blacks and Springboks last went toe to toe, with the Kiwis prevailing 23-13 in Yokohama during the pool stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Readers have already made it clear how hungry they are to get back to rugby stadiums and no doubt all concerned are champing at the bit to see the world champion Boks test themselves against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.