'Pressure game' to break Boks' drought?

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 12:17
Large springbok training general 800

BIG MATCH INTERVIEW: Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan said the key word to beating the All Blacks is "pressure".

Van Graan said the South Africans are looking forward to the challenge to go head-to-head with the in-form New Zealand team in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Kiwis are on a 14-Test winning streak, going back to their 19-27    loss to Australia in a Rugby Championship match in Sydney in August last year.

"It's about which team will be able to apply the most pressure and which will be able to absorb it best," Van Graan said, adding: "That will ultimately be the difference.

"These matches are usually tight affairs over 80 minutes, so it's going to come down to who deals best with the pressure."

The last time the teams met, in the World Cup semifinal at Twickenham last year, the All Blacks edged the Boks 20-18.

South Africa's last win was also a two-point triumph, 27-25 at Ellis Park in 2014.

However, the Boks have not won in Christchurch since 1965 or in New Zealand since 2009.

And bookmakers also seem to suggest the margin will be well into double digits, with victory going to the All Blacks.

"In the last five years we have come up short on a few occasions," Van Graan said of a run that has seen the Boks score just two wins in the last 10 encounters.

"They're a team that remain calm under pressure," he said, adding: "We have to eliminate our mistakes and apply pressure on them.

"Their set-piece is always good, their No.9 [Aaron Smith] and No.10 [Beauden Barrett] are special.

"Barrett, in fact, is probably among the three form players in the world at this moment.

"The centres that have come in for Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith [who have both moved to Europe] and Sonny Bill Williams [who is injured] have easily slotted in and the back three are always solid.

"There are no apparent weaknesses; they really are a fantastic rugby team."

Van Graan said Test matches between South Africa and New Zealand are always a "pretty special".

"We believe we have a few strengths and we want to force that onto them.

"In Test matches, you have to be able to take the pressure and apply pressure."

@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Twickenham Stoop
Bath v Sale Sharks 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0