NZ expect more expansive Boks
Ian Foster (Getty Images)
Johannesburg - New Zealand expect South Africa to play a more expansive game than they managed in their previous Rugby Championship clash when the teams meet in Soweto on Saturday, assistant coach Ian Foster said on Tuesday.
The All Blacks, who have already won the inaugural Rugby Championship with their win over Argentina at the weekend, beat the Springboks 21-11 in Dunedin on September 15 with the visitors missing 20 points with the boot.
South Africa then scored five tries in a 31-8 win over Australia in Pretoria last Saturday.
"They seem to have the intent to play with more width than they did against us in Dunedin and they may chuck a few different things at us on Saturday. We'll need to assess where the threats are and make the adjustments," Foster told reporters in Johannesburg.
"If you want to play expansive rugby, then there is the risk of errors and we've been through that process. It's not something that comes naturally."
The All Blacks are also expecting a barrage of high kicks from the Springboks in the thin altitude of the highveld.
"We still expect high balls and a tough physical battle through the forwards. Some things don't change," Foster said.
"We pride ourselves under the high ball, but the Springboks have put us under pressure with it in the past and they punish you if you drop it. Plus it goes a lot higher at altitude. We'll have to work together as a unit at the back," fullback Israel Dagg added.
The All Blacks played their best rugby since they won last year's World Cup during the 54-15 win over Argentina in La Plata and the world champions believe the small details that had been lacking in the campaign so far were in place against the Pumas.
"We were pretty satisfied but the margins are still very small. The pack definitely stepped up in Argentina and it was great to see the plans finally come together," hooker Keven Mealamu said.