Springboks face different kind of pressure

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    06 Oct 2018     Getty Images

That is different pressure for a team that is attempting to reclaim its place near the head of world rugby.

Springbok captain and flanker Siya Kolisi told media on Friday that his side was expecting a response from the All Blacks after their 34-36 loss in Wellington last month.

"This is a huge game in every sense," he said.

"We feel it from the supporters and there's a huge hype around it. For us, this is a massive game because we're playing against the best team in the world and they would want to come here and rectify matters."

Preparation hadn't changed for the side, deliberately.

"We made sure that we don't do things differently.

"We have prepared in the same way as we did for the match against the Wallabies last week and for the match against the All Blacks three weeks ago in Wellington," Kolisi said.

"We know it's going to be physical and all of us know we have to match that physical intensity. They've spoken about the hurt of losing against us, so we know what's coming. The All Blacks have a brilliant all-round game and they can score from any scenario so we have to be alert right to the end," he said.

"We want to make sure that the same intensity, and even more, from Wellington must be there this week. We want to make sure we don't get shocked – we just meet them with intensity, and guys giving their best, and then the next guy comes on.

"They've been No.1 for such a long time because they bring it every well, no matter who they play. So, I can't say we are there, but we feel as a team that we are improving every week.

"We know what we are – we are sixth in the world, and want to get better each week. We will never get ahead of ourselves," he said.

"They will take it up a notch, as they've said. That's the thing for us – we don't want to be shocked by their intensity. From word go, not wait for a couple of minutes.

The Springboks have recalled Francois Louw to start at No.8, yet another combination in the loose. But Kolisi feels they have advanced since they appeared in last year's one-point win to the All Blacks at Newlands in Cape Town.

"We are different players now compared to last year. I know what I can bring, and so does Pieter-Steph. With Flo [Louw] you can't buy experience, and he's good on the breakdown.

"Pieter has been carrying very well and tackling well, and I have to make sure I put in the tackles. Breakdown is Flo's speciality, and obviously the link between forwards and backs," he said.