‘Underdog’ All Blacks could force Springboks to be ‘at their best at the World Cup’

'Underdog' All Blacks could force Springboks to be 'at their best at the World Cup'

Ian Foster's All Blacks are underdogs, but South African critics are wary of their potential to bring down the Springboks.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Ian Foster’s All Blacks are underdogs, but South African critics are wary of their potential to bring down the Springboks.

The “underdog” All Blacks may be on the mend after four defeats in their last five Tests, but South African critics have warned the Springboks will have to be in their best Rugby World Cup final to defeat Ian Foster’s side. .

Sam Cane and his teammates arrived in Johannesburg to prepare for two mandatory Rugby Championship tests against South Africa in Mbombela on Sunday (New Zealand time) and a week later at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park.

The altitude duo will be a test of the All Blacks’ attitude after losing a home series to Ireland for the first time.

The Springboks beat Wales 2-1 in a three-test series as the All Blacks battled the Irish, but South Africa manager Jacques Nienaber expects a different challenge from the Kiwis.

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“If you look at the athletes that they have and if you look at the skill set that they have available to them, it’s probably going to be a game built around a lot of continuity and maybe moving the ball around a little bit,” Nienaber said. at a recent press conference.

“They don’t shy away from the set-piece battles they showed against Ireland. So it’s going to be a mix of set-piece battles and also probably a little more continuity than we’ve seen in the Welsh series.” ‘

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The former All Blacks coach defended his successor Ian Foster.

South African rugby media are suggesting that the All Blacks could benefit from being the underdogs against the Springboks.

But Ashfak Mohamed, Cape esports editor for Independent Newspapers (iol.za), believes the Springboks need “a change from the strategy used in that memorable 2019 Rugby World Cup final performance against England in Yokohama if South Africans want to stop. an animated All Black outfit.”

“Don’t be fooled by the series’ loss to Ireland. New Zealand will be much better this time around,” he wrote.

The Springboks' set piece has been a formidable weapon, with scrum in action here against Wales.

Themba Hadebe/AP

The Springboks’ set piece has been a formidable weapon, with scrum in action here against Wales.

Mohamed said the Springboks “can’t just rely on playing their usual game of box kicks, mauls and scrum penalties to beat the All Blacks.”

He noted the potential threats posed by Jordie and Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane, and potentially Richie Mo’unga, on the All Blacks’ defensive line and suggested that the Springboks would have to shut off ball supply to them.

The All Blacks also knew how to “beat the Boks, especially in South Africa,” Mohamed wrote, noting that the Kiwis have won six of the last seven Tests in Mzansi (South Africa)” and the 2019 World Cup match and there were divided last year’s Rugby Championship fixtures 1-1.

The Springboks would need to “add the ‘icing on the cake that we saw in all its glory in the World Cup final,'” Mohamed said. they do with that possession will determine the outcome.”

South Africa Rugby Mag columnist Dylan Jack also stated that the Springboks have “always been the traditional underdogs in this rivalry and have used that mindset to cheer themselves up in some of their more recent victories.”

But now, the All Blacks would be “playing with a back-the-wall mentality” that could make them dangerous and the Boks couldn’t afford to be “packed into a position of false security.”

Will Jordan, seen scoring in the second Test against Ireland, will be one of the All Blacks the Springboks will have to be wary of.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Will Jordan, seen scoring in the second Test against Ireland, will be one of the All Blacks the Springboks will have to be wary of.

“They themselves know that a wounded team is a deadly team, that a bad streak of results and criticism from off the field can galvanize a team, like the heavy artillery aimed at the supposed ‘boring’ plan of Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber,’ , wrote Jack.

“It could be a tactically deficient All Blacks team running at Mbombela Stadium… one that doesn’t measure up to the standards that were set before them. But make no mistake, this is a team that will not lack motivation and they can benefit, for once, by being the underdog.”

Jack warned that Will Jordan’s third Test against Ireland showed the All Blacks’ ability to punish any mistake and their talent for “scoring from anywhere on the field.

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