All Blacks prepared for battle

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>     02 Sep 2006

Despite convincingly beating the South African side 45-26 during last week's Test at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, the All Blacks remain wary of the Springboks' track record when playing at home.

Wayne Smith, the All Blacks' backs coach, told that his side had nothing but respect for the Springboks.

"It will be dangerous to think the All Blacks will give the Springboks a hiding if we manage to put everything together. If you think they way, you run into trouble every time," he said.

"We know what we have to do to win. Nothing happens if you don't do the hard work first. Things don't just happen.

"The basics must first be done well to open up attacking opportunities. We did that well in the second half last week. Now we must do it for 80 minutes to be good on the attack."

All Blacks selectors have rung in 10 changes to the side ahead of Saturday's Test and the site of veteran playmaker Aaron Mauger back in the starting fold will be a welcome relief for New Zealand fans.

Mauger, originally named to start in his side's last outing against the Wallabies at Eden Park in Auckland three weeks ago, was forced to pull out prior to kick-off with a groin strain.

With the injury now fully recovered, Mauger, who has extensive experience playing rugby in South Africa, says he is keen to make an impact on Saturday night.

However, he admits he is wary of the dominating way the Springboks forwards attack.

"They try to bully you," Mauger said. "And to deal with bullies you have to do the same to them by staying in their face. You just have to play cleverly against them and take their strong point away from them."

Mauger pinpoints South Africa's key strength as its domination up front but is the first to admit it could be different this time around.

"It can change on Saturday, with André Pretorius at flyhalf. He is probably the most creative Springbok back," he said.

"Then there is Jaque Fourie who can, given the room, also play attacking rugby. But I'm not sure they'll be allowed to do so.

"That's the big difference. To play attacking rugby is a way of thinking in New Zealand."