The Springboks expect the All Blacks to take on the second match of the Rugby Championship at Ellis Park on Saturday after their big 26-10 win at Mbombela Stadium last week.
The result was the All Blacks’ fifth defeat in six games, which has seen them drop to their lowest ever ranking of fifth in the World Rugby rankings, meaning they will be desperate to halt that slide this weekend.
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“The All Blacks are a very proud team and a very proud rugby nation, so obviously they will be desperate, even more desperate than Mbombela,” Bok Lok Lud de Jager said.
“We’ve been in that position before where you go down to fifth or sixth in the world and you’ll do anything to get back to that top spot. I think they would definitely be in that mindset.
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“We need to take a really good look at the game and then we’re lucky enough to play them again this weekend so we can focus on ourselves, what we can improve on, what we’ve done and what we can do better and the threats that they will present throughout the game,” he added.
“But they’ll come with everything they’ve got and we’re looking forward to another massive battle at the weekend.”
Fighting for air
During last week’s match, it was interesting to watch both players struggle for air at times and De Jaeger felt both teams needed to get used to the way the other played again.
“I think that’s how the game went in the first half. The game was long passes with a very high intensity, so we obviously tried to bring our game and force them, which is an offensive and confrontational game that we think works,” De Jager explained.
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“Then they tried to give us their game back, which is a bit more expansive with the quality players they have and offloading. So it made for a very intense affair when the ball was in play and I think there were moments when both sides were sucking the diesel trying to catch their breath,” he added.
“I think because they lack preparation against teams that bring battle and confrontational play like the South African teams, we probably don’t play against teams that play as expansively anymore.”