Mental preparation key against South Africa - Ioane

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Centre Rieko Ioane said after returning from Argentina on Monday, "It's all about the boys getting their body right and filling our tank as fast as we can because we know that the Springboks are waiting for us and we're looking forward to Saturday."

Ioane said having to turn around so quickly was nothing new for the players as they had all faced the same issues during the Super Rugby season.

It was when mental preparation tended to be more prominent than physical preparation to be sharp ahead of the contest.

At the same time, Ioane said in the wake of their 41-12 win in Mendoza, the All Blacks needed to improve their discipline and skill execution.

"The Springboks are always a tough team; you want to be part of the biggest games. They're one of our, if not biggest, rivals for the All Blacks.

The Springboks traditionally were a team who enjoyed the crash-and-bash approach, which was something the All Blacks forwards anticipated, while the All Blacks had some backs who could hit hard too.

"It's moreso just the style of game they play but we look forward to any challenge we get in the black jersey."

The Springboks would be looking to improve on their effort when the All Blacks last played them and won in Johannesburg last year, but the All Blacks were also looking to do better.

"We've both just started our campaigns. They'll be finding their feet, as are we, and it's what team can adapt the fastest on the run.

He said he felt comfortable with the combination he built with second five-eighths Jordie Barrett in the midfield.

"Jordie's an outstanding player and last Saturday was no different. You saw the type of player he is, very physical and confrontational. I've always said that helps my game as a centre, especially us two being two bigger bodies. That's what I am sure the coaches expect from us. He was phenomenal last week.

"There have been a lot of tweaks from last year into this year, and it's things we identified as a team towards the end of the year and the start of our year. Schmidty [Joe Schmidt] and Foz [Ian Foster] have been at the forefront of that.

"Our drivers, Richie [Mo'unga], D Mac [Damian McKenzie] and Baz [Beauden Barrett] bossing us around, they're the sort of masters of their craft, and we're trying to play off them.

 "Everything is about getting that performance for us on Saturday. This week is a bit different to last week; we know that if we do everything we can in preparation for the week ahead, then that takes care of the bigger picture [the World Cup].

"We're just looking to find that slow burn and building brick by brick."

All Blacks v South Africa: Saturday 15 July, 7.05pm NZT, Go Media Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland. Live on Sky Sport NZ


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