Cape Town - Playing Tests against the All Blacks was always extra special, former Springbok lock Mark Andrews says.
In an interview with Vodacom Rugby, Andrews - who played 77 Tests for the Boks between 1994 and 2001 - says playing against New Zealand is the pinnacle for any South African rugby player.
“I just loved playing against the All Blacks. I actually had to calm myself down for games against them... I just absolutely loved it. If I only played against the All Blacks it would have been the perfect career,” Andrews said ahead of this Saturday's Rugby Championship encounter between the two nations in Durban.
In the interview (see video below), Andrews recalls his first Test against the All Blacks and how intimidating it was to face the haka.
“I can remember my first Test against All Blacks in 1994 in Dunedin... it was the first time I faced the All Black haka and I must say I was helluva intimidated. I was standing there and remember thinking... ‘why is Robin Brooke looking at me like that?’ It was fairly intense. I was quite looking forward to these ‘okes’ doing a little dance... but it was intimidating, if I'm really honest.”
Andrews played 19 Tests against the Kiwis and eventually enjoyed facing the haka.
He also recalls a humorous incident involving opposite number Norm Maxwell.
“But by my seventh or eighth Test I actually enjoyed the little dance and wasn’t intimated anymore. Norm Maxwell was playing his first Test and I started watching him, blowing him kisses. It absolutely stuffed him up. He got his timing wrong. He looked at the 'oke' next to him, then trying to get back into his dance, he looked at me and I just shook my head and said: 'you’re a joke, you don’t even know your own haka'. So much so, that Maxwell tried to kill me for the next five Test matches I played against him."