It may have said ‘57-0’ on the scoreboard the last time the All Blacks played the Springboks, but New Zealand captain Kieran Read said on Friday that it did not feel like that sort of game and he is counting on a tighter contest at Newlands on Saturday.
“It was a tough game, the Springboks worked really hard and they put us under pressure. We just took our four or five opportunities, but sometimes you get games when that doesn’t happen.
The Springboks are a tough team, they are building, but that score doesn’t reflect the real gap between the teams, it certainly didn’t feel like we’d won 57-0 afterwards,” Read said at Newlands on Friday.
And the All Blacks eighthman is well aware that the home side will be intent on settling the score from that Albany disaster when they run out on to the hallowed Newlands turf.
“The Springboks have been very competitive this year, except for that one game. They have good players, we know that from playing against them in Super Rugby, and it’s just a matter of when they click and gel together as a unit. And I’m sure they’ll have plenty of motivation because of our last match, so it’s certainly going to be a tough game,” Read said.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen had also said earlier in the week that one of the blackest days in Springbok history, their biggest ever defeat, was a freak occurrence that did not accurately reflect the difference between the two sides.
“I’ve said it before, the scoreline doesn’t really indicate how tough that game was. I know the score probably doesn’t give much comfort to the Springbok supporters, but we know how tough and physical that game was. It would have been a whole different game if they had managed to take some of their opportunities and I don’t think there’s that big a gap between the teams.
“There’s no advantage for us from the Albany result, that game is over and each match is a separate entity with different challenges, which you can be good at handling one day, but not the next. I think the Springboks will be a lot more physical and accurate, and that was the issue in the last game, how they executed and not what they were trying to do.
“They also won’t be coming off the travel regime that brought them from Perth and Argentina, which is two massive time changes. So they’ll be comfortable playing here on Saturday and their mindset will be as good as it will ever be because 57-0 will definitely hurt. So I certainly think they’re going to cause us more problems on Saturday,” Hansen said.