All Blacks have aces up their sleeves

Date published: October 24 2015

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw believes his players are adequately prepared for their World Cup semi-final fixture against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Meetings between the duo are always one of the most highly anticipated in a rugby calendar and the expectation is that it will live up to its billing, with McCaw suggesting they have some surprises in their game this week.

"We've got some things up our sleeve," said McCaw in the build-up to the match.

The South Africans are known to produce some of their best rugby against New Zealand and McCaw expects nothing less this weekend.

"We realise the challenge that the Springboks are going to pose. They are going to be desperate, and we've got to match that. It will be brutal because of that," added McCaw, who has seen off many a bruising battle against the old foe.

"We will be going in with a plan, you always do, and it's the subtle differences that often catch [the Springboks] out, rather than a miracle thing," he said.

Whatever the All Blacks plans might be, McCaw does know that the Springboks do have the capacity to counter them. As a result, nothing will be taken for granted, regardless of the preparation that has gone into this past week.

"We've got some things up our sleeve, but you don't go out there just thinking it is going to work. The big boys up front getting the set piece right, that's a big one you have got to get right, first and foremost," he said.

"If you don't get that right, no matter what you have got up your sleeve, it isn't going to work."

Games of this magnitude are often accompanied by a tremendous amount of pressure. McCaw said he was relishing the challenge that would present itself.

"They are the games I love, and if you get the odd scar from it, that's just part and parcel," he said.

"Being in that environment, playing that opposition with that sort of intensity is why you play the game. If we get the job done, I will take any scar that comes along with it."