springbuck assistant coach Deon Davids believes both the Springboks and All black will desperately pursue their rugby championship campaign to a winning start in the first Test at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
The two teams go into the tournament from opposing upcoming rounds, Boxing beat Wales 2-1 and the All Blacks lost 2-1 to Ireland.
Despite this, Davids believes that the home team is just as desperate to start the game on a winning note.
“We understand that as a team they are very desperate to deliver the best game (from the Irish series), but we are also desperate to keep improving our game,” Davids explained.
“So I think our attitude about how we prepare for New Zealand or any other team is not going to change and it’s all about being the best we can be.
“It is important for us to be on top in every test match. History will tell you that tests between New Zealand and South Africa are often one of the most intense games.”
Boks are also preparing for a full-blown physical attack from the away side, especially in set pieces where they will be looking to destroy the hosts’ biggest threats, namely their scrums, lineouts and mauls.
“We have a lot of respect for New Zealand’s approach to the set piece battle. I can understand that, like us, they are always striving to improve their scrums and mauls, as well as stop the opponent’s maul,” Davids said.
“We know this is going to be a very contentious and physical area clashing with New Zealand. Their new offensive coach (Jason Ryan) emphasized the fact that this is an area they want to improve.
“If you look at the work he’s done with Fiji and the Crusaders over the past few years, we know it’s going to be a challenge. But we also want to get better in this particular area, so we will prepare for that.”