Boks relish chance to down champs NZ

2014-09-09 00:00

THERE are no broken bodies, perhaps only hurt feelings, after the Springboks lost 24-23 to Australia in their Rugby Championship clash on Saturday.

The team have arrived in Wellington ahead of their tournament-deciding clash with the All Blacks and it seems all systems go for the week ahead.

Team doctor Craig Roberts was happy to report no casualties following the weekend’s match, which is a welcome relief from an injury bug that has plagued the side.

That means the 30-man squad can put in a week of hard preparation as they look to knock over the reigning World Champions for the first time since 2011.

The match against New Zealand this Saturday is the last before the Boks return home to host Australia and the All Blacks in the final two matches of the tournament.

The game is very much a potential decider for the Rugby Championship title, as the Boks are second on the log while the All Blacks are three points clear at the top.

A win for the Springboks will see them move to the top of the log with two home games left to play.

The Springboks are under no illusion that beating the All Blacks is an easy feat but coach Heyneke Meyer is optimistic about the clash.

“We’ve always said we’re striving to be the number one team in the world and what better way to measure yourself than by playing against New Zealand,” said Meyer.

“What happened in Perth is behind us and we’re looking forward to Saturday’s match. We’re facing the number-one team in the world and we know that nothing but our best will be good enough to win.”

The statement makes one think back to Ricky Januarie’s historic chip-and-chase try against the All Blacks in Dunedin in 2008 that gave Pieter de Villiers’s Boks their first win on New Zealand soil in 10 years.

The Boks got one over the All Blacks in Hamilton the following year but it has been a tough few years on the road since.

“It’s been five years since the Springboks last beat the All Blacks in New Zealand and we’ve only won there three times since 1998, but we’re confident that we have what it takes,” Meyer said.

“Our away record in the last couple of seasons is good and although we’ve got a lot of respect for the All Blacks, we believe we can win this match if we play like we know we can,” he added.

A concerted effort and focus on discipline and execution will be needed from the Boks if they are to get one over the old enemy.

There are some positives going into the match. The Springbok pack looked dominant at times against Australia and will need to replicate that come Saturday.

The Boks face the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on Saturday. Kick-off is at 9.35 am.

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