Slade: My 'biggest Test'
Sportal.co.nz 13 Aug 2011 Getty Images
For Slade, who has been restricted by two broken jaws this season, the task involves heading to Port Elizabeth to meet the might of a South African team humiliated by away losses to Australia and New Zealand in the Investec Tri Nations this year.
But he isn't shirking the challenge.
The task was one that had to be met with excitement because of the opportunity it represented to go into the Springbok environment and organise the All Blacks around the field – the toughest place to succeed in the history of the New Zealand game.
"It's going to be my first opportunity over there in a black jersey and one that I'm really looking forward to.
"It's obviously going to be the biggest Test and it is going to give me a pretty good indication of whether I am up to this standard and I'm looking forward to it," he said.
The team wasn't the strongest possible but he said he was no different to the others in the side who wanted to take the chance and to win the game.
Slade said coming into the All Blacks camp initially it had been a case of getting his head around everything that was involved in filling the position, a crucial one in any All Blacks side, and getting involved in the team environment.
"Every time I am getting on the field I'm feeling a lot more confident. It's such a great to be part of, everyone is playing really well and it certainly brings out the best in everyone," he said.
Slade said he felt he was over the bad luck that had seen him suffer two broken jaws this year and he felt three would be too cruel. He wasn't concerned about heading into South African territory with that knowledge shared by the opposition.
"Hopefully I've got it all behind me," he said.
And coach Graham Henry acknowledged the chance Slade had in standing in for Carter.
"He could well have to do that in a Rugby World Cup final who knows? So we've just got to give him that experience.
"He's been good. He's come into the side and fitted in well and had a couple of little cameos so it is obviously a test for him. The Springboks will be huge in South Africa and they will want to prove a point because we haven't lost to them for a while.
"They will be right on edge so it will be a great game for those who are playing," he sai
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