NZ to feed off Kings Park atmosphere
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: All Black captain Kieran Read says playing in South Africa in front of the boisterous Springboks fans always brings out the best him and his teammates.
Speaking to reporters ahead of their Rugby Championship clash against the Springboks in Durban, Read acknowledged that the Boks are a different beast when they play their old foes in front of their home fans which, in turn, also lifts the All Blacks' game as well.
"It is definitely a tough place to play," said Read. "Anywhere in South Africa is hard with the travel getting over here and obviously the home fans really lifts their performance.
"We know what they are going to be bringing to us. It is going to be a really physical and fast match.
"We just got to turn up and really back ourselves. We can't just expect things to happen because when you come over to South Africa and a place like the Sharks Tank in Durban it is going to be a big game.
"In some respects it is a great place to play because you got a crowd that is right into the game. It is always good for us - we talk about wanting to play in big atmospheres and environments, to test ourselves and none better than over here in Durban."
Read hinted that they will attempt to run the Boks ragged at Kings Park.
"We got our plan, which is to play a really quick game and we really have to turn up as a forward pack.
"I think the most important thing is to be physical with the South Africans and really take them on there.
"They got a gun kicker in Morne [Steyn] who will slot from anywhere, so if we give them opportunities we will be facing a scoreboard that ticks over against us," Read added.
New Zealand will have the chance to equal the top-tier rugby nations' world record of 17 consecutive wins on Saturday and Read believes it will be a special occasion if they can achieve it with a win over the Boks.
"This is massive Test for us and we want to go and get 17, but you can't be thinking about records once you are on the field.
"There is a little bit of motivation with it - this group of men got us to a position where we got a chance, so we want to finish it off really well and what better side to face than the South Africans. A team that is going to put us under a lot of pressure," said Read.
By Warren Fortune, in Durban