It’s been seven long years since the Boks secured a home win against the All Blacks, at Ellis Park in 2014, and fly-half Handre Pollard admits it’s something the team have been talking about.
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“We talked about it as a group. We’ve achieved a lot of things in the last four or five years that have been great, but it’s something I haven’t done (beat the All Blacks in South Africa since 2014). It’s like we haven’t beaten Australia in nine years,” Pollard explained.
“But we’re not looking at Australia yet. We’re just focusing on New Zealand for now. But it’s definitely a box this group wants to tick together and now we have two great opportunities to do that.
“I think they are incredibly dangerous right now, where they are as a group. It’s going to be very tough. We have two weeks and two opportunities now, but let’s see how the first 80 minutes go on Saturday.
Massive Half-Fly Battle
Pollard will be in for a massive battle against Beauden Barrett and his replacement Richie Mo’unga, both of whom are a handful to deal with.
“I don’t think as a team they will change much whether one is playing or not. They are quite rigid in what they do, but they both have different x factors,” said Pollard.
“With Beauden his speed is amazing and he’s also got a lot of experience which is great. Richie is also progressing, getting more Test caps and he’s a bit more of a threat with the ball in hand in terms of game play. legs.
“But it’s Test match rugby, not Super Rugby. It’s something different and we’ll try to contain whoever is playing, but they have 15 threats on the pitch at any given time so we won’t just focus on those two.”
Pollard predicts another generally close game against the All Blacks and thinks the foot game could be decisive with who walks away with victory on Saturday.
“It’s going to be massive. Close games, which are usually those (between the Springboks and the All Blacks), the kicking game is really important to contain them. One of the things you don’t want giving them is broken play and time on the ball,” Pollard said.
“So the way we hit and the type of shots we use is important. I think we have a good plan and we’ve planned well this week. But then it’s just about execution and in our kicking game, everyone has a role to play.
LAST FOUR HOME TEST RESULTS SINCE 2014 IN SA
July 25, 2015 (Ellis Park) – 20-27 (NZ)
October 8, 2016 (King Park) – 15-57 (NZ)
October 7, 2017 (Newlands) – 24-25 (NZ)
October 6, 2018 (Loftus Versfeld) – 30-32 (NZ)