The All Blacks of New Zealand are aware of the challenge that a wounded Springboks side will pose to them in Saturday’s Rugby Championship encounter at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Stalwart and top performer for the current rugby world champions, Keiran Read is expecting the South African home game to be an important test, despite the fact that the All Blacks are big favourites to emerge victorious.
The Springboks suffered a last minute 24-20 defeat to Australia in Brisbane this past Saturday in their opening Rugby Championship match, adding further pressure to the upcoming test against the world champs.
Number 8 Read believes that his side are the best rugby team at the moment, but is expecting a difficult atmosphere in Johannesburg for their encounter with the Boks.
“We do have to take another step up. It’s a different test, especially coming over to South Africa. We know the challenge they present and they will be hurting after last week,” Reid said, according to SuperSport.
“We have something to prove and as I said before we have to keep improving, we can just rest on where we are now. We want to go out and win this test match, it’s really important to us. Our performance has to lift and we need to do that throughout the year,” he added.
“I think they will come at us up front. They’ve got a pretty strong scrum and lineout. But they will also look to counter-attack, I know last year in this fixture, their boys are pretty quick at the back, and they played really well and made a lot of breaks. So they will want to continue to do that,” he admitted.
Addressing the fact that injuries and changes in the squad present a team that is younger and less experienced than the typical Springbok sides they are used to facing, Read mentioned home advantage as an additional factor.
“Experience does matter in big games, knowing the conditions we will be facing and the hostility you will find at the ground, matters a bit but you have to be able to impart that on the whole squad. It’s different to anything in New Zealand, playing in South Africa you have passionate fans and it is their home. It’s always a great game and it’s a big test for us,” he explained.
“The crowd certainly bays for our blood and we certainly want to go out there and play as well as we can. Once you get out onto the field, it pretty much becomes white noise, and sometimes they could be screaming for you. You really don’t know what is being said and if we can go out there and play well, and show up the crowd, we always know it is a big test.”