'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, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
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