Attitude is everything for the All Blacks

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Lynn McConnell     06 Oct 2017     Getty Images

Second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams said the motivation was still to go out and perform as part of the All Blacks' legacy.
Apart from all the rivalry considerations Williams and centre Ryan Crotty were focused on dealing with their specific role in the Test of containing the Springbok mid-field who they rated as quality players.

They all knew what a quality athlete centre Jesse Kriel was and second five-eighths Jan Serfontein brought stability to the combination that enhanced Kriel's game, Williams said.

"We've got a big job on our hands to nullify that threat that they have in the midfield. We're going to have to be on our toes," he said.

Williams said he took confidence from being paired with Crotty because of the experience he carried and also his ability to see things through a second five-eighth's eyes.

"And there's the way he has been playing that gives you the confidence to go out there and do your job," he said.

That was supplemented by the side's midfield group staying tight as a unit to help each other both at training and in games and it was a key factor of being in the All Blacks' environment, he said.

"From an individual point of view we want to play really well but collectively we always try to come together put that aside and work for the betterment of the team."

Williams said he felt comfortable in South Africa as his wife was South African and it was like a second home for his family.

"I really enjoy coming here, especially Cape Town," he said.

Crotty explained that while the Rugby Championship was in the bag already it was all about attitude for the All Blacks.

That came down to individual attitude to ensure players were ready at kick-off, and he said after a week off, he was 'champing at the bit' to play.

It was easy for him to have the attitude and he was sure it also applied to the rest of the side.

Flanker Liam Squire said he appreciated the chance for a break by not travelling to Argentina. The fitness work had continued but the mental freshness was important, especially in such a big year of rugby.

He said he wasn't expecting too much change in the Springboks' approach even with the changes to their loose forwards. Their game revolved around their physicality and it would probably be enhanced as a result of their choices for Saturday. He and Kieran Read and Sam Cane would have to be at the top of their game to combat them, he said.

Prop Wyatt Crockett said it was enjoyable that there had been some increased emphasis on scrummaging. It was something that had been working well for the All Blacks and the aim was always to get good ball for the backs.

It was a bonus for the All Blacks to have scrum coach Mike Cron, especially when new players had been introduced to the front row this year.

The challenge for the side was to scrum well and correctly to take the referee out of the game. By attacking the scrum positively the benefit of the doubt would more often go with you, he said.