All Black lock Scott Barrett knows exactly how dangerous the Springboks can be and while there are a few new faces in the New Zealand squad, they are well aware of the challenge that awaits them at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5:05pm).

Both teams will be looking to get their Rugby Championship campaigns off to the best possible start, especially the All Blacks who come into the game in poor form having lost four of their last five games.

However, they know who the usual suspects are and will be prepared for their start on Saturday.

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“There’s a few new players we haven’t played against but that’s a five we’ve played against in the last couple of years,” Barrett said ahead of the Test.

“Eben Ezebet, Lud de Jager are familiar opponents (in the second row) and are among the best in the world, if not the best. So it’s a great opportunity to play against these guys.

“Malcolm Marks was also an impressive player whether he was coming off the bench or starting the game. He’s big, physical, and when he gets on the milk’s back close to the line, he’s pretty dangerous. So hopefully we can make this a less memorable night for him in his 50ththousand.”

A different challenge

Asked if the All Blacks were taking the confidence that the Boks hadn’t beaten them in South Africa since 2014 and whether they could factor that into the match, Barrett admitted it was a different task now.

“It’s been a while if we’re honest (since they last played in South Africa in 2018). Since then the Springboks have won the World Cup, won the Lions tour and are playing rugby,” Barrett said.

“Springbok rugby is physical and has a strong squad. So I think we can take a bit of experience and confidence from these (previous) games. But Saturday is a new game and it will be a new challenge.”

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