All Blacks wary of Bok backlash

Date published: July 20 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Conrad_Smith_All_Blacks_training_2015

The All Blacks will be in the firing line when they take on the Springboks in Johannesburg on Saturday.

South Africa suffered a narrow loss to Australia in their Rugby Championship opener in Brisbane at the weekend and New Zealand expect a backlash from their arch rivals at Ellis Park.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has left Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams out of his 31-man squad to travel to Johannesburg, saying it is important that he tests the mettle of other players in a high-profile Test in front of a sold-out crowd.

"We have to be brave to find out some answers to some questions and what better place to find out some questions about people – it is a heck of a pressure situation, isn't it, against one of the best teams in the world," he told Fairfax Media.

"And at home and in their backyard in the highveld. We will get some good answers to some serious questions."

Veteran centre Conrad Smith, who was rested during the All Blacks' win over Argentina while Williams and Ma'a Nonu lined up in midfield, admitted that winning the World Cup was the All Blacks' main goal this year but that won't distract them from winning this weekend's fixture.

"It is New Zealand [against] South Africa; it doesn't need much more riding on it to be pretty important for both teams," he said.

"There will be a lot to take from the bigger picture part of things. I know for the guys that run out on Saturday afternoon there will be only one thing in mind and that's to win a game."

COMMENTS