Henry demands same again

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NZPA     14 Jul 2010     Getty Images

The New Zealand coach anticipates a major challenge for his side to rise to the standards set in the 32-12 crushing of their arch rivals in Auckland, while it is only natural the Springboks will be a different beast.

Henry and his management admit last year's three straight losses to South Africa was a major factor at Eden Park, with that motivation having now switched teams.

"The natural thing for top sporting teams to do if they have a peak performance is they drop a bit and the team that didn't have a peak performance to come up a bit," he said.

"That's got danger in it so we're trying to have a peak performance again."

Henry is well versed in the art of extinguishing complacency but didn't think that would be needed as they attempt to seal the perfect start to the Investec Tri Nations.

"Generally the All Blacks are pretty good, they get themselves up every week and they've got intrinsic motivators," he said.

"We realise that this is a pretty good contest. We had the same contest last year and didn't do too well.

"So among the senior players and everybody else, there's talk about that big performance again. It's more about doing it than talking about it."

Henry watches for triggers like body language at training and reckoned the signs were good early this week.

While he delayed his team announcement until tomorrow to further assess niggles to halfback Jimmy Cowan and winger Joe Rokocoko, the Springboks announced two enforced changes. Danie Rossouw replaces banned lock Bakkies Botha and prop CJ van der Linde is introduced for the injured Janie du Plessis.

Henry wasn't surprised by the retention of several South African players who underperformed but said "I think they'll change their attitude".

Another factor in favour of the visitors is an extra week in New Zealand, with Henry suspecting jetlag played a part in Auckland.

"I've been in the same situation. You think you're on top of it, you think the guys are great but you're just losing that 5 percent (through travel) and 5 percent in international rugby is huge," he said.

"They will be more acclimatised and they will be on edge because of the result last week. They'll be the best they can be."

Springboks Ricky Januarie and flanker Francois Louw will start their sixth test in six weeks, following hard on the heels of Super 14 playoff commitments for the majority of squad members. It will also be the fifth test start in that period for winger Bryan Habana, first five-eighth Morne Steyn, No 8 Pierre Spies, lock Victor Matfield, prop Gurthro Steenkamp and hooker/captain John Smit.

In comparison, New Zealand's players were largely rested during the Super 14 playoffs and have had one less test to play.

Smit didn't want to contemplate excuses, saying a thorough review of the first test had underlined where they went wrong.

"You realise that they just had such quick ball all day and their physicality was a factor that allowed that," he said.

"They were pretty good and they smashed us up. They barred up around the rucks, they were quite willing and able to throw their bodies into us and that's part and parcel of any type of test match.

"They were superior on the day. It's up to us to get back to the kind of standards that we've set."