"They're a quality team" - Foster

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Foster said he expected South Africa to use the ball. That had been the case last year against the All Blacks, and it was seen again in last week's win over Australia.


"They're a quality team. You're not world champions for nothing. And they can play a wide game, a fast game, but they've also got that Springbok DNA of control and set piece and the aerial battle. You've got to expect both, and we'd be foolish to prepare for one.


"We can't pigeonhole their game. In some ways, you've got to look at it as a game of chess going on here too.


"We play each other again at Twickenham [next month], and there might be a potential game later in the World Cup tournament, so how much do you show and how much do you not show? In our mindset, we're keeping it nice and simple. It's an All Black-Springbok Test, and these mean a lot to us.


"It's special because there's a lot of mutual respect. That's on the field and off the field. The guys relate to them, and we have the same mindset.


"There's nothing better than playing South Africa. It brings out the best of both teams. We love these games and we will get a marker of where we are at but again, it's just another little step on the ladder."


Foster said it was still a concern that the All Blacks' bench had not achieved the desired impact last year, and it was seen against Argentina last week. When they were in good positions in games, they got too loose and went away from some of the things that worked for them.


"We're talking a lot about that. It's a concern, not a major concern, but it's something we're trying to build the group to make sure that our bench is clear about how they contribute."


Foster said wing Emoni Narawa was not considered due to his back seizing up the day after the Argentina Test. At the same time, Leicester Fainga'anuku had joined the squad, but he could only jog slowly with his calf muscle.


Lock Sam Whitelock was able to be considered, but they decided for the longer term to give him two extra weeks by missing the South Africa Test and having next week off to give him a decent block of recovery.


Foster said Richie Mo'unga's return to start at first five-eighths was always planned. Damian McKenzie performed well in returning to the side after his time in Japan. They had both played a lot of minutes in Super Rugby and Mo'unga, after a deliberate bench contribution last week, had his turn to start.


Not having McKenzie in the match 23 on Saturday was also down to longer-term thinking.


Prop Tamaiti Williams will debut from the bench, a reflection of the growth in his game over the last six months.


"He's continued to train well, he's contributed well. We're keen to get him in. It's a big test but I've got a lot of confidence in him."


Foster said he was excited about how his back three of wings Mark Telea, Will Jordan, and fullback Beauden Barrett shaped.


Telea had benefited by having time to get his knee injury sorted and had trained all last week with the side in Mendoza. Jordan didn't travel but had been brought up to scratch during the week.


"He's a quality player and they've got some good combinations going at the back so I'm sure they are looking forward to it."


There was also a chance he would play as fullback at some stage of the game.


Codie Taylor was preferred to start at hooker this week, with Samisoni Taukei'aho on the bench.


"We've got three good hookers. Codie's in really good form, some of the best I've seen him play. He's experienced and we've got a lot of faith in him and Soni is yapping at everyone's heels. We know that but it's a nice little one-two punch."


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