All Blacks guarding against over-confidence for Bok Test

Date published: September 13 2016

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The history between New Zealand and South Africa means the All Blacks won't be complacent when the teams face each other in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

While 2016 form suggests the Springboks are in for a tough time in Christchurch, New Zealand assistant-coach Ian Foster said they were working to ensure complacency was not an issue among the players.

Foster denied that it was simply a case of the All Blacks pitching up to win, with the history between the two sides making that unlikely.

"This is South Africa. For us, we're preparing to play a team that historically, and we're talking the last three or four years, they've beat us, they've pushed us really close, they're always physical, the breakdown is a massive battle, the set piece is a very even contest and they've got backs that can play," Foster said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"For us it is still the All Blacks v South Africa and we know how tough these games are. They are 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 that they can be very, very dangerous."

Foster said opponents were hard at work trying to find their weaknesses, but they were doing the same.

"As this year rolls on opposition are going to know more about us, they're getting better whoever we play. While the Springboks have had a couple of losses I still think time together under a new coaching group, new combinations that they'll improve," Foster said.

"We have to get better. We know that and we're making sure that our focus is on our own improvement and making sure we don't get complacent with our own levels."

Foster was happy with the way his back three of full-back Ben Smith and wings Julian Savea and Israel Dagg were developing.

"The back three have really grown through the Rugby Championship and we're delighted with that. It has been a real challenge for Izzy to go on the wing but primarily he is running faster at the moment. Last year he was struggling with his injuries and probably wasn't running as fast as he could and for an outside back that is the number one tool you need isn't it?"

Asked about the level of confidence the All Blacks appeared to be playing with, Foster said: "You don't wake up confident, it takes a lot of hard work. And it takes a heck of a lot of work in terms of talking to each other, training together, understanding what we're doing and that's how we go about it. 

"We're winning and everyone is patting us on the back but it takes hard work, and it has got to be weekly hard work. The minute you slacken off for a couple of days it goes so we've just got to make sure we keep the routine going," he said.

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