All Blacks rookie Williams wary of Boks' scrum power ahead of World Cup final

All Blacks rookie Williams wary of Boks' scrum power ahead of World Cup final

Rookie New Zealand front-rower Tamaiti Williams knows the ultimate scrumming test awaits against the Springboks in Saturday's Rugby World Cup final in Paris.

After making his mark coming through the Crusaders' development system, Williams has had the benefit of Super Rugby Pacific success earlier this year to know what is required about winning.

However, he said the days ahead in the build-up to the highly anticipated encounter between the All Blacks and Springboks are the most important of the year.

"My prep [preparation] is the same every week," Williams revealed. "You work all year to this point and I pride myself in my preparation, so I will trust that."

The 23-year-old made his debut in a 20-minute cameo as a replacement in the All Blacks' Rugby Championship win against the Springboks in Auckland in July and he had a 30-minute stint off the bench when South Africa beat New Zealand in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham in August.

Williams felt the power of the South African scrum in those games and is wary of the world champions in the set-piece.

"They are great scrummagers, as we all know," he said. "If I get the opportunity to be out there on Saturday, I'll be up for the challenge. But it all starts with the preparation, and we'll have a closer look at how we can counter that.

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"They are massive, and clinical. If you give them a chance they all take it. For us, it is all about being clean. You have to match the physicality. Everyone knows what they are going to bring. We had a good win against them [in Auckland] and we got a hiding against them [at Twickenham] as well."

While much has been said about South Africa's ˜Bomb Squad' of replacements, the All Blacks have their assets who could come off the bench and do what their team needed, whether giving energy, ball-carrying or providing effort at the set-piece.

"We are going to focus on ourselves and make sure we are primed," added Williams.

All Blacks hooker Samison Taukei'aho said if he gets an opportunity to get on the field in the final, he is looking forward to confronting the Springboks.

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"They are big men and they love confrontation," he said. "I like to base my game around that, so I am really excited about it."

As the least experienced of the All Blacks' hookers, Taukei'aho said he had enjoyed working with Dane Coles and Codie Taylor.

"I first met him in 2021 and I clicked with Colesy," he added. "I was a bit too cheeky to him, but he took me under his wing, Codie as well. I am in a lucky spot coming in with two world-class hookers and learning from them."

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