Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Liam Measam, left, Brodie Retallick and their New Zealand teammates have had it all go their way so far in the Rugby Championship. But South Africa await them at Johannesburg. Michael Bradley / AFP
Liam Measam, left, Brodie Retallick and their New Zealand teammates have had it all go their way so far in the Rugby Championship. But South Africa await them at Johannesburg. Michael Bradley / AFP

All Blacks ready for Boks’ challenge

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen accepts that Saturday’s Rugby Championship title decider against South Africa at Johannesburg represents one of the biggest challenges in the sport.

Argentina host Australia in the wooden spoon game

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen conceded his side have been “cruising along” in the Rugby Championship, but accepts today’s title decider against South Africa at Johannesburg represents one of the biggest challenges in the sport.

The All Blacks have won all five matches they have played in the 2013 competition, with only South Africa offering any kind of threat to their supremacy three weeks ago at Auckland.

New Zealand came through 29-15 on that occasion, but Hansen knows the Springboks at Ellis Park are a different proposition.

“There’s a genuine edge and sense of excitement in the team,” Hansen said. “We’re looking forward to a massive challenge. That’s probably exactly what this team needs at the moment.

“They’ve been cruising along and winning games. When you’re continually winning all the time, you need something to get up for.”

South Africa need a four-try win, while preventing their opponents from picking up a bonus point of their own, to claim the title, and the Springbok winger Bryan Habana acknowledged he and his teammates face a tall order to prevent the All Blacks from completing the season with an unbeaten record.

“We have to make sure that not only our defence, but our attack, is vastly improved,” he said.

“So that not only are we playing in the right areas of the field, we are putting them under pressure on attack as well.

“When you have guys like Aaron Cruden and Israel Dagg, who have fantastic kicking games, you are going to be chased around the park a bit.

“It’s not only going to be a tactical game, it’s going to be a clever game as well. We have to think quite a bit about them.”

Today’s other game sees Argentina play host to Australia in a game that will decide who finishes at the bottom of the table, with the visitors currently holding a two-point lead.

Ewen McKenzie, the Australia coach, dismissed concerns that he was worried about the prospects of his side earning the wooden spoon, and said: “We look at this as an opportunity to beat Argentina here.

“This hasn’t been an easy place for Australia to play, ever, so you concentrate on that bit instead of worrying about the what-ifs or the negatives.”

* Press Association

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National