We want to take on the best in the world - Taylor

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Hooker Codie Taylor said the All Blacks knew, having beaten the Springboks in their pool game at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and then seeing them go on to win the prize, that they could learn quickly.


As a result, they expected lessons learned in their two losses to Australia to be applied against the All Blacks.


South Africa wouldn't have a lot to lose going into the game. They were a proud side. The Australians played well, were smart, and deserved their wins, he said.


"If we can do similar things, hopefully, we can get the result, but I would say they'll be pretty pumped for this one, and we know that every time we play them, they step up, so it's going to be a good challenge.


"Every game that I've played [against them] has been really tight, really tough, and it's always a physical battle," he said.


Taylor said the 2021 All Blacks team had dealt with different issues ahead of each opponent they had faced.


"We've done pretty well so far and we have been looking forward to this challenge. They've earned the right to be world champs and No1, so it's going to be a pretty exciting opportunity for us this week to get out and put on a display that, hopefully, we can be proud of," he said.


It had been two years since they had played with South Africa unable to play Test matches in 2020 due to Covid-19, and the All Blacks had missed the connection.



"We want to play the best teams, and they're the holders of the World Cup, so we get to challenge ourselves against the best. Also, it's going to be a different challenge for us. We've played different styles of rugby this year so far, and they play a different game that is hard to nullify and get on top of.


"So, there's key areas that we have to focus on if we want to get the result," he said.


"It's a different game for us. They've found a way they can win games with their kick pressure, their set-piece, so that's going to be a real test for us, especially as a forward pack.


"We've been heading in the right direction but when you've got big men like the South Africans and men who are really good at the set-piece area it's a great challenge for us," he said.


South Africa would be sitting back and thinking they needed to slow the All Blacks' ball down, kick in behind them and then force them to play out of their half and dealing with that approach would be the requirement if the All Blacks are to succeed, Taylor said.


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