Ardie Savea (left), Beauden Barrett and Shannon Frizell (right) of the All Blacks.
As the All Blacks prepare to take on a wounded Springbok side, flyhalf Beauden Barrett said they expect a much-improved South Africa performance this weekend.
Saturday’s clash will be the 100th Test between the two powerhouse rugby nations, and the first time in decade the All Blacks have faced a reigning world champion, adding to the spice of the occasion.
“It’s been a while since we played the Boks and the first time for me personally and any of the team playing against the world champs,” Barrett told reporters.
“It’s a rivalry that has a long tradition and lots of very memorable games, there’s a proud history and I can’t wait to hopefully play the 100th on the weekend.”
The Springboks enter the match in a spot of bother after looking well below their best in successive defeats to the Wallabies, but Barrett expects the South Africans to lift their game for the contest.
“We’re playing the world champions – we know they’ll rise to the occasion and be a lot better than they’ve been in recent weeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, lock Brodie Retallick said dealing with South Africa’s rush defence will be crucial.
“Where they’ve caught us out the last couple of times was their line speed defensively,” said Retallick.
“They’ve outmuscled us, we haven’t been able to break them down through our attack and they’ve punished us.
“So you’ve always got the set-piece battle but dealing with that line speed and being able to hurt them is going to be massive.”
Retallick said the All Blacks won’t change their style when facing the Boks, and will look to maintain their free-flowing approach.
“It’s two completely different styles,” he said.
“From our point of view, it’s what we do with the ball. We don’t want to get caught up in going set-piece to set-piece.
“With the freedom the boys are playing with, using the ball and creating opportunities, there’s no doubt about how we want to play our game.”
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