Barrett looking forward to renewing rivalry with Springboks

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All Blacks first five-eighths Beauden Barrett said not having had contact with South Africa either in Super Rugby or since their World Cup meeting in 2019 had been felt by the side, and they were looking forward to renewing their rivalry.

 

"It's been a while since we've played the Boks, and it's the first time for me and everyone in the team playing against world champions. It's a rivalry that has a long tradition, with some memorable games in it for me, whether playing or watching.

 

"There's that proud history between us two so I can't wait, hopefully, to play the 100th on the weekend," he said.

 

Barrett said it would be dangerous to read too much into their two losses to Australia because when wounded South Africa were tough to beat.

 

The Australians were also growing into an impressive unit and they could be proud of their last two weeks. Their self-belief was coming through and they were getting some consistency, he said.

 

"We have to focus on ourselves, we're playing the world champions, we know that they'll rise to the occasion and be a lot better than they have been in recent weeks.

"It's a great challenge for this team, where we are right now," he said

 

With South Africa's traditional size in its pack, it would be important how the All Blacks chose to attack and whoever was at first five-eighths would be responsible for those decisions.

 

And given the ability of South Africa's back three, it was about not allowing them to have too much time with the ball in space.

 

"So as a team it's about suffocating them and not giving them as many opportunities as they'd like," he said.

 

The freedom the All Blacks were playing with was something they enjoyed and wanted to maintain. Barrett said seeing the less experienced unit take on Argentina on Saturday had been great.

 

"Particularly in a unique time like this when we're together for three or four months, it's so important to keep everyone in the squad energised and sharing those opportunities and responsibilities.

 

"For some guys to be rewarded on Saturday it was great to see them play so well because each week whoever's not playing in the 23 plays a huge role in preparing the starters during the week and getting them where they need to be to perform on Saturday," he said.

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