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Springboks begin build up to AllBlacks test

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James Mortimer     10 Sep 2012     Getty Images

The All Blacks on the other hand managed to overcome a formidable challenge from the Pumas in what was an intriguing night on Mother Nature's behalf, and the wet - and let us not say Wellington weather - made it difficult for the All Blacks to find their desired conversion at key moments, although an impressive lift in the second half was evident on the part of the World Champions.

Pace and tempo is evident, as coach Steve Hansen and captain Richie McCaw remarked, but the All Blacks were unable to match what was a widely expected assault of "Passion and Power" much like the celebrated festival held in New Zealand's capital throughout the week, in the first half of the match.

Cheetahs hooker and likely Springboks starting rake Adriaan Strauss, after injuries have cut down the likes of Bismarck du Plessis, said that the team was excited of the challenge of meeting the World Champions.

“New Zealand are one of the best teams in the world and those are the types of teams that we like to play against," he said.

"They are World Champions and they are the number one ranked team in the world, so it is good to measure yourself against (them)."

The Springboks defeated the All Blacks 18-5 in their last meeting, although some would point out it was not a full strength selection.

The All Blacks record against arguably their greatest rival over the last decade stands at 19 wins over 27 tests.

Strauss said that they would be up for the challenge despite the obvious threat of the All Blacks.

"...the All Blacks have been good this season," he said.
 
"It is always tough playing them, especially at home. They are a classy side. They have great individuals but they play as a team. We will definitely be up for the game."

The 26-year-old hooker, who has played over a century of matches with Free State and the Cheetahs, said that the team felt they could have performed better against the Wallabies.

“We are a bit disappointed in the result against Australia," he said after arriving in Auckland airport.

"We played good rugby at times but some soft moments in the game, especially on defence, and one or two attacking opportunities that we didn’t use cost us. But that is test match rugby and we let it slip."

“We have got a lot of work to do but we are still very positive and we are looking forward to this weekend. We have good week ahead of us so we can prepare."