Boks know massive battle awaits against the All Blacks

Boks know massive battle awaits against the All Blacks

Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi made it clear on Friday that they expected a massive battle against the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.

However, Mbonambi made it clear the Boks are ready for the challenge, despite several players only arriving at the team hotel in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"It's always difficult playing against a fully loaded New Zealand team," said Mbonambi. "They are a good scrummaging team, and we saw how they performed against Argentina, so we have to be up for it.

"The game against Australia was a good start for us, but we quickly put that behind us because we have another big challenge this week. It was smooth sailing all the way here, and when we landed, we got down to training.

"Fortunately, all the planning was done when we touched down, so we just had to slot in, and as a team we're aligned."

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick also expected a big test from the hosts, saying: "If we want to beat the All Blacks, there's no doubt that we have to stand up to them physically, and also cope with their high-tempo game for the full 80-minutes. It is also vital that when we create opportunities, we have to use them."

Of the possibility of defeating New Zealand in Auckland for the first time since 1937, Stick said: "It's the first time I hear about that. It would be special for the boys, but it isn't something we've been thinking about.

"As a team, we spoke about facing the All Blacks at home. Some of us were part of the team that won in Wellington in 2018, but this is a new match, and we know the history between the teams is massive."

With the teams set to line up against one another at a new venue, Mount Smart Stadium, for the first time, Stick said he was pleasantly surprised with the stadium.

"We were actually surprised when we got to the field after everything we heard about it," said Stick. "It's a nice pitch and stadium.

"In South Africa we've been to Welkom, Brakpan and Kimberley at stages in our careers, so we are used to very tough fields. After what we saw today, I don't think the stadium will make a massive difference."

The match kicks off at 09h05 SA time on Saturday and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.