All Blacks expecting hostile reception at Ellis Park

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All Blacks captain Sam Cane said Ellis Park would be as hostile as always, but that was also an incentive for the visitors.


"There's another 30,000 people than last week. The air will be a little thinner.


"It's a hostile environment, and I think we quite like playing in places like this that really test you.


"I've said it before, it's like the 15 out there versus the 15 Springboks plus the whole crowd, so it's a massive challenge."


Cane expected South Africa would look to gain a scoreboard advantage in the traditional way. That would mean more of the kicking game and pressure from that.


"Of the 15-odd contestable kicks [in the first Test], we only took five of them, so they have great success in that area, and I expect them to keep going there. Again, they had good success at the breakdown.


"We'll expect them to roll out a lot of the same stuff, but it would be a little naïve if they weren't looking for other opportunities, so we've just got to prepare the best we can.



"There's always a focus on the opposition. But there's probably more of a focus often on what we can control in our game."


Cane felt the All Blacks had the required intensity in their game in Mbombela, but it was South Africa's ability to apply pressure in key moments to flip momentum just as the All Blacks were trying to get it.


"Some of those were controllable from our point of view. We had five penalties in a row in the first half. As a result we hardly had a crack at them. So, trying to eliminate those from our game will help.


"But that's the game of Test match rugby; creating pressure, intensity and momentum. It's all very well having one good moment, it's about following up with another good moment, and another good moment."


Cane was adamant it wasn't a case of having nothing to lose.


"I'm not seeing it that way at all. There's a trophy on the line, we're playing at Ellis Park, and we're desperate to want to improve and put out better performances than we are, so there's as much on the line as there's ever been."


Cane said the traditional frankness in reviewing games had continued for the All Blacks as they sought to improve, and it was good to be part of a group where the attitude was good, and he couldn't ask for anything more.


"The frustrating part is that it is not quite translating to the field yet. But one thing I know is, that as long as we are putting all the right steps in the preparation we'll get there, it will come."


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