Four year wait adds hype to South Africa clash - Ioane

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So far as the All Blacks were concerned, they were planning for their 'absolute best game', he said.

 

"We know at home they [South Africa] won't disappoint, so we're looking forward to it," he said.

 

Ioane said the first Test was a game the players had all looked forward to after the four-year absence from South Africa.

 

"To not have that annual game over here builds the hype, especially on the outside with everyone looking forward to it. We're just looking forward to putting out a decent performance on Saturday," he said.

 

While there were several players who had never been to South Africa before because of the non-involvement at Super Rugby level, Ioane said when recalling his first trip to South Africa, they would be enjoying the experience.

 

They had also experienced a part of the country they hadn't been to before. It will be the first Test they have played against South Africa at Nelspruit. The landscape was completely different to anywhere they had been, he said.

 

 

Readjusting to altitude was a factor in their preparation for Saturday's game, but Ioane said it shouldn't be too much of a factor. Nelspruit is on the low veldt. It was just another thing they had to adapt to in order to be at their best.

 

There had been a buzz about the game from the moment they landed at Johannesburg on Sunday, but Ioane said he enjoyed that, and South Africa was the country he enjoyed visiting most.

 

There was also enjoyment in being on tour. While they missed being out of New Zealand and away from their families, they did enjoy travelling and training together. There was none of the attention that surrounded their training in New Zealand, and they were in a bubble of their own at training, he said.

 

"We as backs need to fire, we know we are coming against a world-class outfit, especially in their backs. We need to get better all over the park whether it is on attack or d [defence]. There's plenty to work on but we're looking forward to it," he said.

 

Up against a traditional rival the side had no problem preparing for the game.

 

"Some of the toughest games I've played in the black jersey have been over here. The last time we were here, it went beyond the 80 minutes, and we really had to dig deep. But the hardest games, and the toughest places to play in, are the ones you want to be part of.

 

"I know the boys, especially the new boys, are excited by that challenge," he said.

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