JOHANNESBURG - Both Steve Hansen and Rassie Erasmus are preparing for a massively physical Test match when their teams meet in the final clash of the Rugby Championship at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria tomorrow.
While New Zealand boss Hansen said his team would have to play with “real purpose, composure, belief and intensity”, South Africa coach Erasmus, said his side would have to match the physicality the All Blacks bring to the clash. The visitors go into the game having already won the Championship, but they lost to the Boks 36-34 the last time the teams met in Wellington three weeks ago.
“Nothing changes for us,” said Hansen, referring to the fact that his side had already wrapped up the title. “It’s a Test match everyone in New Zealand expects us to win. The fact it’s against the Springboks makes it even more exciting and it’s one we’re really looking forward to. South Africa are playing with a lot of confidence and after their two recent wins their confidence levels will be even higher.”
Erasmus said Hansen and his coaching team would have made new plans to get the better of the Boks: “They’ll definitely have a different plan, especially with centres Jack Goodhue and Sonny Bill Williams coming into the team.
“It’s going to be a different challenge for us this time. The All Blacks wouldn’t have seen our game before Wellington, but now they have an idea of what we’re doing. Tactically it’s going to be interesting to see how both teams do their thing on Saturday.”
The other big selection call by the All Blacks has come on the wing where Waisake Naholo has come in with Ben Smith moving to fullback. “The team they’ve selected sends out a message of what they want to do,” said Erasmus. “It’s going to be physical and they’ll be hurting after Wellington. They’ll want to bounce back and give us a helluva performance... we’re just going to have to match it.”