The Springboks will go to great lengths to break their All Black home hood when they face them in their first rugby league match of the year at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
It’s been seven long years since the Boks took a home win over the All Blacks, being at Ellis Park in 2014, and opening half Handre Pollard admits that’s something the team has been talking about.
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“We talked about it as a group. We’ve achieved a lot over the past four or five years, which has been great, but it’s something I haven’t done (he has beaten the All Blacks in South Africa since 2014). It’s just like we haven’t beaten Australia in nine years, ”Pollard explained.
“But we’re not looking at Australia yet. For now we focus exclusively on New Zealand. But it is definitely a box that this group wants to tick together and now we have two great opportunities to do so.
“I think they are incredibly dangerous when they are as a group. It will be very tough. We have two weeks and two opportunities, but let’s see how the first 80 minutes on Saturday will go ”.
Massive mid-flight battle
Pollard will be embroiled in a massive battle against Beauden Barrett and his replacement Richie Mo’unga, both of whom are a handful to deal with.
“I don’t think as a team they will change much whether that team plays or not. They are pretty strict in what they do, but they both have different x-factors, ”Pollard said.
“With Beauden his speed is incredible and he also has a lot of experience, which is fantastic. Richie is moving forward too, getting more test appearances and is a bit more of a threat with the ball in hand in terms of footwork.
“But it’s Rugby Test Match, not Super Rugby. It’s something different and we’ll try to contain those who play, but they always have 15 threats on the pitch, so we won’t just focus on these two. “
Pollard foresees another typically close match against the All Blacks and believes the football match could be decisive with whoever leaves with Saturday’s win.
“It will be huge. The tight games, as these usually are (between the Springboks and the All Blacks), the game of kicks is really important to contain them. One of the things you don’t want to give them is the interrupted play and the time on the ball, ”Pollard said.
“So the way we kick and the type of kicks we use are important. I think we have a good plan and we have planned well this week. But then it only comes to execution and in our kicking game everyone has a role to play. “
LATEST FOUR RESULTS OF HOME TESTS SINCE 2014 IN SA
July 25, 2015 (Ellis Park) – 20-27 (NZ)
8 October 2016 (King Park) – 15-57 (NZ)
October 7, 2017 (Newlands) – 24-25 (NZ)
October 6, 2018 (Loftus Versfeld) – 30-32 (NZ)