All Black fullback Israel Dagg and Assistant coach Ian Foster have said that they are expecting a “massive test” against South Africa in the Rugby Championship and that “It won’t be easy.”
South Africa have lost their last two matches and are struggling to adapt to a new game plan with new players and a new coach.
Even though the Springboks have lost to Argentina and Australia Dagg says that playing South Africa this weekend, “won’t be easy” as he expects them to step up for their traditional foe the All Blacks.
“No game is easy,” Dagg told the NZHerald.
“Obviously the scoreline blew out in the weekend but it doesn’t show how tough that game was. We were under the pump for the first 40 minutes.”
“Argentina had us under a lot of pressure in that first half. Just before halftime their prop nearly scored a try and that would have put us under even more pressure.
“No matter the scoreline, we’re always sore. If you ever come to a review, which you probably won’t, they’re pretty honest. They’ll tell us what we need to work on and they won’t say anything about what we’ve done well.
“And that’s good … we want to be told how to get better.”
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has said that this weekend’s match will be a “massive test” for the All Blacks who are the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
“The players know inherently that this is a massive test match and one we’re looking forward to greatly because every year All Blacks v Springboks is just about at the top of the list of the games we look forward to.
“I’m sure they’ll be hurting after a couple of losses and I’m sure that’s all they need (as motivation). I’m sure if we were in that same situation we’d be hurting and I know how we’d try to respond. That’s why we’re under no illusions about the scope of this week.
“We know how tough these games are and we know the ability (they have). They’re certainly playing with a lot of intention, the Springboks. They are moving the ball and we’ve seen them, if you give them any space they can be very dangerous. We’re expecting another one of our traditional battles.”
Foster said that the All Blacks were not looking at South Africa’s recently results and instead focusing on how matches between the teams have been played historically.
“We’re preparing to play a team that historically, and I’m talking the last three or four years, have beaten us and pushed us really close,” said Foster.
“They’re always physical, the breakdown’s a massive battle, the set piece is a very even contest and they’ve got backs that can play.”
The All Blacks have won their last 14 Tests and Foster said that their game-plan will continue to evolve week by week.
“Will our game evolve and change over the next six months? Yes there will be some tweaks, but right now we’re not holding anything back.”