All Blacks expect Springbok response

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Lynn McConnell     07 Oct 2017     Getty Images

While fans were still struggling with the record-breaking 0-57 loss inflicted on South Africa by the All Blacks at Albany three weeks ago, All Blacks captain Kieran Read said the bruising his side had suffered in that game were a constant reminder of how hard it still was to play South Africa.

Read said at Friday's captain's run: "They're a tough team, they've been building. Francois Louw is talented in that area [breakdowns]. Maybe they'll come at us a bit more physically in the forward pack."

He said the All Blacks only needed to think back to the opening quarter of the Albany Test to remember how hard the Springboks could play.

"They've drawn twice against the Wallabies and maybe should have got over the line last week so they're a tough team, they've been building and the score [in Albany] didn't reflect the real gap between both teams," he said.

That would have the All Blacks alert to the anticipated South African show of force. But they had their own motivation to succeed.

"We want to finish the Championship on a high note. Every Test is important for us," he said.

The game was always a tough one especially due to the demands of travelling around the world in a fortnight and which didn't allow the usual training disciplines.

"It's a mental game for us this week because we couldn't train the way we would have wanted to. So, that's going to be important."

He said of the final preparation at his captain's run, "I think the boys trained really well, and it feels like the energy levels are where we normally expect them to be on a Friday. It's going to be a tough game. We're certainly looking forward to it," he said.

It was unusual to receive the type of welcome that has been with the team since their arrival in Cape Town.

"It's nice to have, it's something we don't normally get around the world but brilliant to see that, the fans actually love it and it's a good boost for us.

Meanwhile, Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth said his side had a point to prove after Albany.

"We'll be looking to rectify our mistakes this week," he said.

At the same time they needed to hold onto ball as a means of denying the All Blacks attacking fodder.

"They're very good on the counter-attack, so we'll be looking to keep the ball and not give any 50-50 offloads."

The Albany defeat had left its mark on the South Africans.

"It's not nice standing behind the poles. After a while the message gets difficult and the guys start thinking about the score.

"So I think the best is just to get a better start and not to be behind with two tries. We did all the work early on and they scored from turnovers," he said.