Springboks expecting huge challenge from All Blacks

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The All Blacks fly out on Friday for the first Test to be played in Nelspruit on Saturday next week, followed with the second Test at Ellis Park a week later.


The first Test is being played in the Mpumalanga region (formerly Eastern Transvaal) at Nelspruit, and is the first time the two nations have met at the Mbombela Stadium.


Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber said when his side assembled after a short break following the July series, "New Zealand will pose a different challenge to Wales.


"Their skill-set is based around a lot of continuity, and moving the ball around. But, they also don't shy away from the set pieces."


The All Blacks would also be desperate after losing their series with Ireland 1-2.



"They are under pressure just as we are, but we can only control our desperation and things from our side, so our focus is on our game.


"Our goal is to improve as a team, and get better at what we want to do. When we faced Wales, we hadn't played together as a team for a while. So, that served as a marker for where we are.


"We want to control things in our game and fix a few areas. Without getting into detail, there were areas where we showed good growth and there are other areas we need to fix things," he said.


Nienaber said it would be next week before decisions were made around No8 Duane Vermeulen and utility back Frans Steyn's availability. Vermeulen is recovering from a knee injury and is still in the return-to-play stage of his rehabilitation. He hasn't trained with the side.


Steyn trained with the Cheetahs last week and has run with the Springboks this week. He is the more likely of the pair to be considered for selection.


Springboks centre Lukhanyo Am said, "When you face the All Blacks, they are one of the teams where you have to ensure you are on your A-game all the time.


"They are a big team, so we need to make sure we're well prepared for them when we face them. We also need to use the fact that we're playing at home in these two games an advantage against them.


"We all know we will be facing a different threat compared to what we faced against Wales. The Boks are doing their prep and we trust that will put us in a better place for the Test," he said.




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