DURBAN // The All Blacks have put last week's defeat to South Africa behind them and will be better prepared when they take on the Springboks again in Durban tomorrow, the vice-captain Mils Muliaina said. New Zealand lost 28-19 in Bloemfontein last Saturday on the back of just two full training sessions, having beaten Australia in their Tri Nations opener the previous weekend in Auckland.
"The mood in the camp is good, we've had a full week to prepare this week and we've had the time to get things right," Muliaina said yesterday. "A lot of our confidence comes from our second-half comeback and we did put ourselves in a position to win last week's game. A lot of guys have come back from injury and they now have another game under their belt. "We've come a long way and we believe we'll be better this Saturday," the fullback said.
The All Blacks trailed 17-3 two minutes into the second half but closed to within four points at 20-16 down before Jaque Fourie's 72nd-minute try settled South African nerves. "The All Blacks will be far better prepared, last week they had a short turnaround for playing a match at altitude," said the Springbok captain John Smit. "Durban is a venue where they have been comfortable in the past and it would be foolish of us to think there will be the same amount of intensity this weekend as last."
The All Blacks have made two changes to their team, scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan and tighthead prop Owen Franks coming in for Brendon Leonard and Neemia Tialata, and they should ensure the Kiwis have a stronger kicking game and an improved physical presence. The Springboks have selected Morne Steyn, who solved their goalkicking woes in Bloemfontein, in place of the injured Ruan Pienaar. * Reuters