Cape Town - There is never any love lost when the All Blacks take on the Springboks, and Ryan Crotty echoed those sentiments in Pretoria this week ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship clash at Loftus.
The All Blacks have already secured the Rugby Championship title, and the Boks will finish second regardless of Saturday's result, but that in no way takes away from what is one of the game's great rivalries.
At a press conference at the All Black team hotel this week, hooker Codie Taylor was speaking about the threats posed by Bok hooker Malcolm Marx.
While Taylor has been impressive in standing in for the injured Dane Coles this year, Marx is largely considered the best hooker in the world with his breakdown work and physicality in open play setting him apart.
But, when Taylor was finished talking, Crotty jumped in to back up his team-mate.
"I have seen Codie go to a whole new level this year," Crotty said as quoted by New Zealand's Newsbub website.
"He was a massive reason why the Crusaders were so successful, especially around the defensive side of the ball.
"He has taken on a leadership role – driving the team defensively. Codie is a very intelligent hooker and I'd take him over Malcolm Marx any day of the week."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse
15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe
Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Ryan Crotty